William & Mary

W&M sets guaranteed rate for new in-state students

Continuing in-state undergraduates will see no increase in tuition
Previously planned increase for new students cut nearly in half

The Board of Visitors on Friday unanimously approved in-state tuition for next year’s incoming class at William & Mary. The rate of $16,370 will be the same for all four years that new in-state students spend at William & Mary under the guaranteed tuition plan that is part of the William & Mary Promise. As part of the Promise’s guarantee plan, in-state students already enrolled will continue to see no increase next year in their tuition bill.

The Board passed the William & Mary Promise in 2013. A key element of the Promise is providing full transparency to Virginia families on the four-year cost of tuition. The Board sets in-state tuition at its November meeting to allow Virginia families to have tuition information ahead of the application deadline. Historically, in-state tuition was set later in the academic year, usually during the Board’s April meetings.

“Predictability is a key element of the William & Mary Promise, and that is reflected in both the comfort of a four-year guarantee that the rate won’t rise and in the timing of today’s vote by the Board,” said W&M Rector Todd Stottlemyer ’85. “By setting tuition earlier — before the end of the calendar year — William & Mary provides families of incoming Virginia students with the financial information and time they need in order to make an informed decision.”

For incoming Virginia students, the new guaranteed rate for fall 2017 is 4.4 percent higher from the tuition charged to last year’s incoming class.  By virtue of the guarantee, freshmen who enter W&M next fall will pay the equivalent of an annual increase of just over 1 percent per year. Sam Jones, senior vice president for finance and administration, said next year’s rate represents a reduction from the university’s original six-year plan, which called for the in-state class entering in fall 2017 to pay a rate 7.5 percent higher than students who began at W&M in the fall 2016. He noted that the Board approved the lower tuition rate for new students despite recent state budget reductions of about $5 million the university will have to absorb next year.

“We decided to lower the previously planned tuition rate despite having to absorb serious budget cuts in state funding this fiscal year and next,” said President Taylor Reveley. “Absorbing the cuts won’t be easy but we understand the need. It’s vital that the William & Mary undergraduate experience remain among the very best in the world.”

When considering that quality, William & Mary has a long list of examples that affirms its place as the nation’s distinctive “Public Ivy.” For example, William & Mary has the lowest student-to-faculty ratio (12/1) of any top-ranked public university. It also has the second-highest four-year graduation rate of any public university in the country, as well as the second-highest percentage among national public universities for alumni who go on to earn Ph.D.s. The institution’s commitment to teaching and career preparation is consistently recognized, and more faculty at W&M have earned Virginia’s highest teaching honor than any other university in the commonwealth. In addition, William & Mary was the only university in the state selected among the Princeton Review’s 50 “Colleges That Create Futures.”

In 2013, the Board adopted the Promise, a comprehensive and campus-wide approach to sustaining the university’s excellence, creating predictability for all students and improving affordability for students who qualify for financial aid. Key pieces of the operating model include increased financial aid and lower student debt for middle-income Virginia families; more seats for Virginia undergraduates; productivity gains through innovation and greater efficiency of campus operations; and a greater investment of resources to recruit and retain superb faculty.

Coupled with William & Mary’s initiatives to sustain and advance academic excellence has been a university-wide commitment to ensure the institution remains a great value. Friday’s resolution continues an ongoing investment to providing significantly more need-based financial aid. Increased aid as part of the Promise has allowed the university to reduce student loan debt for in-state students from low- and middle-income families. For example, the net price for families who earn less than $110,000 is less today at W&M than it was in 2012 before the Promise was implemented and reflects university’s commitment to make a William & Mary education affordable for Virginia families.

William & Mary’s strong value is also apparent when compared to other public universities. According to the latest information available on the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator website, William & Mary’s “net price” for in-state students who qualify for grant or scholarship aid is the fourth-lowest among all public universities in Virginia. Only Radford, Norfolk State and UVA-Wise are lower. Virginia State is fifth and the University of Virginia is sixth. Raising money for scholarships — both increasing aid for in-state students and providing more assistance to out-of-state students — is also the top priority of William & Mary’s For the Bold campaign.

As part of the Promise, the Board previously established guaranteed in-state tuition rates for undergraduate classes arriving in fall 2013, fall 2014, fall 2015 and this current academic year. The guaranteed tuition rate increases each year for the entering class and does not change for that class during its four years at William & Mary. Out-of-state tuition and fees for 2017-18 will be set in April as part of the university budget.