As a "one of a kind" public Ivy, William & Mary no longer has the financial resources to maintain our current excellence, much less move in the directions charted by our strategic plan. We are doing better than the vast majority of other colleges and universities. But we are not doing well enough. This century will belong to the schools that either already have or can build sustainable financial foundations. We need to build ours.
Over the last generation, taxpayer support for William & Mary has declined from 43% of our operating budget to 13% this fiscal year. This trend is not likely to reverse, given the enormous demands on state revenue going forward.
Among all the things William & Mary must accomplish soon by far the most important is to rebuild our financial foundation, taking into account the decline in state support that has occurred over a generation and the enormous demands that are now being made on very finite state resources. While William & Mary greatly appreciates any support the state provides us, we recognize that the College must largely fund itself going forward. This we can do by combining campus productivity gains with growing philanthropic support and more earned income from students who benefit from the extraordinary education William & Mary provides (coupled with need-based aid for those students who qualify for it).
In other words, we all have to do our part – faculty and staff through productivity gains on campus, alumni and friends through philanthropy, and students and parents through tuition. No group can stand on the sidelines expecting the others to carry the ball alone. It takes us all, pulling together, to build a sustainable financial foundation for William & Mary in this century. And it is crucial that faculty and staff, alumni and friends, as well as students and their families be confident they are not pulling alone.
In short, we intend to build a financial foundation resting on the four Ps:
- Performance. Outstanding results worthy of support
- Productivity. Innovation, greater efficiency and growing streams of earned income (tuition and fees, research grants and contracts, and entrepreneurial leveraging of our strengths to generate new sources of revenue)
- Philanthropy. Greatly enhanced philanthropy (annual giving, endowment, funds for bricks and mortar); and
- Public support. Continued support of operations and capital projects by the state, with flexibility to take advantage of William & Mary's unique strengths, building on the principles of the restructuring legislation.
Last April the Board of Visitors took steps vitally needed to move forward in securing a future for the College worthy of our storied past. The steps evolved over several years through our strategic planning process. Taken together these steps will significantly expand revenues and allow us to allocate funds to the highest priorities established in our strategic plan.
The plan, known as "the William & Mary Promise" significantly raises in-state tuition phased over three years, but does so in ways that hold tuition increases for in-state students already on campus in April 2013 to the rate of inflation for the rest of their four years at William & Mary, guarantees the freshman-year tuition rate for each of the four undergraduate years for in-state students not yet enrolled, and materially increases need-based financial aid for in-state students up through the middle class, reducing the net cost for these families. For FY14, we held tuition increases for out-of-state students to 3 percent, the lowest percentage in over a decade. The overall result is a meaningful increase in earned income for the university.
Here are the basic elements of the Promise.
- Tuition for incoming in-state students will be increased in three steps beginning in FY14, but each entering class is guaranteed that students will pay the exact same tuition for four years. Those step increases have already been announced, so incoming students and their families will be able to make informed decisions.
- Tuition for in-state students enrolled in FY13 will increase at no more than the rate of inflation through FY17.
- We are significantly increasing grant aid. For incoming freshmen, the plan provides a lower "net price" for all low- and middle-income Virginia families who qualify for need-based financial aid.
- We will enroll an additional 150 in-state students phased in over a four-year period, and they, when added to the additional 150 students we began phasing in with our fall 2011 class, will result in 300 additional students from Virginia – or an 8% increase in the size of the in-state student body as compared to its size in fall 2010). Along with these additional in-state students, we will enroll 100 out-of-state students during this same 7-year period.
- Over a five-year period we will raise faculty salaries to the 60th percentile of their SCHEV peer-group, and staff salaries will be competitive.
- We will increase academic innovation by recognizing all aspects of faculty teaching, fully integrating non-tenure eligible faculty into the life of the university, and developing policies for appropriate balances between the dual responsibilities of the faculty as scholars and teachers.
- We will increase business innovation, including an external review of business operations beginning in FY14.
- We will continue to expand philanthropy efforts. FY13 was the most successful year for private giving in the university’s 320-year history. We raised $104.2 million in cash, pledges and estate commitments. More than 31,000 donors contributed. Among them were 18,552 alumni, including 14,368 undergraduate alumni, or 23.9 percent of the overall undergraduate alumni body. We have a goal of 40 percent participation by 2020, which would place us fourth behind Princeton, Dartmouth and Notre Dame.
"The William & Mary Promise" embraces the reality that we are all in this together. The Promise hinges on all members of the William & Mary family doing their share – faculty and staff through productivity gains on campus, students and parents through more tuition to help pay what it costs to provide a William & Mary education, alumni, parents and friends through philanthropic support of the university, and the Commonwealth through whatever funds it can provide. No group is asked to pull the load alone. Fulfillment of the various elements of the Promise will be tracked along with other elements of this FY15-FY19 strategic plan.
Increase revenue and allocate resources consistent with institutional needs and priorities.
- Implement the W&M Promise as approved by the Board of Visitors in April 2013 and propose future adjustments as needed.
- Build an even stronger culture of philanthropy through investment in development and coordination across campus.
- Achieve an undergraduate alumni giving participation rate of 40 percent by 2020.
Enhance efficiency and effectiveness of operations and identify opportunities for revenue generation or cost savings across the institution.
- Actively promote and track innovation, greater efficiency and creative adaptation. Significantly expand development of innovative teaching approaches through the Creative Adaptation Fund. Increase the fund from the current $200,000 per year up to $500,000 per year by FY18, if appropriate projects are available.