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William & Mary Board approves 2015-16 budget

Third year of W&M Promise implemented
Four-year tuition guarantee continues for Virginia residents

The Board of Visitors approved the university’s 2015-16 budget Friday, moving forward the third year of the William & Mary Promise and continuing a four-year guaranteed tuition plan for in-state freshmen.

As part of the Promise, an operating model adopted on April 19, 2013, the Board established guaranteed in-state tuition rates for undergraduate classes arriving in fall 2013, fall 2014 and fall 2015. The tuition rates for each class remain constant through all four years of undergraduate study. For example, current in-state freshmen and sophomores see a zero increase in their tuition rate. Tuition next year for current sophomores will continue to be $10,428 per year – that rate has not changed since they arrived in fall 2013 as the first entering class of the W&M Promise.

“Predictability is important for families,” said Rector Todd Stottlemyer. “The W&M Promise allows residents in Virginia to plan ahead knowing what the cost of tuition will be – and that amount won’t change.”

In-state undergraduates who arrived prior to the fall of 2013 – and prior to the W&M Promise tuition guarantee – will see a 2.4 percent increase in tuition to $9,264. That increase reflects the estimated rate of inflation. Out-of-state undergraduates will see a 2.9 percent increase in tuition in 2015-16 to $35,122.

Current in-state freshmen who arrived in fall 2014 will continue to pay $12,428 in tuition. In-state freshman arriving in the fall 2015 will have the four-year guaranteed rate of $13,978. In addition to predictability through the guarantee, the budget approved Friday continues a commitment to need-based financial aid for in-state students, and improved affordability for low- and middle-income families across the Commonwealth, said Sam Jones, senior vice president for finance and budget.

“The William & Mary Promise enables us to enhance and sustain the quality of the educational experience we provide here,” Jones said. “At the same time, it provides additional resources for need-based aid and reduces the cost of education for students who come from low- and middle-income families.”

In April 2013, the Board of Visitors adopted the W&M Promise, a comprehensive and campus-wide approach to sustaining the university’s long-term financial health. In addition to the increased predictability through tuition guarantees for incoming Virginians, key pieces of the operating model include increased financial aid and affordability for middle-income Virginia families; more seats for Virginia undergraduates; productivity gains through innovation and greater efficiency of campus operations; and additional earned revenue to recruit and retain superb faculty.

President Taylor Reveley said the Promise provides a roadmap for a sustainable financial foundation for William & Mary. That roadmap hinges on all members of the W&M community contributing, Reveley said. This includes students and families who are asked to pay tuition to help cover what it costs to provide a William & Mary education. Alumni and friends, who are asked to help support William & Mary through philanthropic support. And faculty and staff, who are asked to pursue productivity gains on campus to help sustain the university financially.  For example, the budget approved Friday includes $1.6 million in new revenues and reallocations that reflect the university’s business innovation and productivity activities, including organizational redesign, streamlined IT functions, and other actions, Jones said.

Other highlights of the budget approved Friday:

  • More than $1.9 million in additional need-based financial aid for undergraduate students. Through the new financial aid provided under the Promise, W&M is able to lower the average annual borrowing and four-year cumulative debt average for Virginia undergraduates with demonstrated need as determined by the financial aid office. 
  • $400,000 to support enrollment growth. As part of the W&M Promise, the university committed to increase overall in-state undergraduate enrollment by 150 students, phased in over a four-year period. This is in addition to the 150 in-state slots William & Mary has been phasing in since 2010. By 2017, W&M will have added an additional 300 spots for Virginia students, an increase of about 8 percent since 2010.
  • A 4.5-percent salary pool supporting merit-based increases for faculty and a 2-percent merit pool for all staff, as well as funds to support the state’s salary increases and compression adjustments for classified employees.
  • $1.1 million for state increases in fringe benefits such as retirement and health insurance. The Virginia Retirement System increased the employer match from 12.33 percent to 14.22 percent for all employees.