Over the last generation, taxpayer support for William & Mary has declined from more than 40 percent of our operating budget to less than 13 percent. This trend is not likely to reverse, given the enormous demands on state revenue going forward.
While William & Mary greatly appreciates the support the commonwealth provides, we recognize that William & Mary must largely fund itself going forward. This we can do by combining campus productivity gains with growing philanthropic support and increased 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. 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, William & Mary's financial foundation rests on 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.
In April of 2013 the Board of Visitors adopted a plan known as the William & Mary Promise that significantly raised in-state tuition but did so in a way that held 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.
The Promise guarantees that the freshman-year tuition rate for new in-state students will not increase during their four years as undergraduates. The Promise also increases need-based financial aid for in-state students through the middle class.
This innovative operating model improves cost predictability for all Virginia families and provides additional operating revenue for the university to enhance financial aid for in-state undergraduate students. A key pillar of the W&M Promise is to provide all incoming freshmen from low- and middle-income Virginia families with a lower net price, which has required increases in scholarships in proportion to tuition increases for each guaranteed class. Since inception of the W&M Promise, the net price for Virginia families making less than $75,000 has dropped by more than 20 percent and the university consistently ranks as one of the lowest public Virginia institutions in terms of net price for in-state students with need.
Here are the additional elements of the Promise:
- Enrolling additional in-state students by adding 50 more spaces to the target size of each freshman class (1500 students per class, with an additional 20 students per class in our joint degree program with the University of St Andrews).
- Raising faculty salaries to the 60th percentile of our peer-group defined by the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV).
- Increasing 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.
- Launching business innovation efforts to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
- Expanding philanthropy efforts and successfully completing an ambitious fundraising campaign with goals of raising $1 billion and increasing alumni participation in annual giving to 40 percent.
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 investments in advancement and coordination across campus.
- Achieve an undergraduate alumni giving participation rate of 40 percent.
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.