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Board unanimously extends W&M Promise

Four-Year Tuition Guarantee Continues For Virginia Residents

Continuing in-state undergraduates will see no increase in tuition rates

The Board of Visitors on Friday unanimously approved an extension of the William & Mary Promise, ensuring a guaranteed tuition plan will remain in place for in-state students.

In Friday’s action, the Board voted to establish a four-year guaranteed in-state rate of $15,674 for the fall 2016 entering class. Like previous classes, that rate will remain constant through all four years of undergraduate study. Already enrolled in-state undergraduates who are continuing their education at W&M (sophomores, juniors and seniors in 2016-17) will see zero increase in tuition rates.

“Predictability is very important when planning a budget,” said Rector Todd Stottlemyer. “We have found that Virginia families and students appreciate the ability to plan well in advance knowing that their in-state tuition rate won’t change.”

As part of the William & Mary Promise, an operating model adopted in 2013, the Board previously established guaranteed in-state tuition rates for undergraduate classes arriving in fall 2013, fall 2014 and fall 2015. The guaranteed tuition rate resets each year for each entering class and then does not change.

Sam Jones, senior vice president for finance and administration, said the Board and administration decided to approve the in-state tuition rate in November because the university wanted in-state families to have tuition information well in advance of application deadlines. Historically, tuition is set in the spring. Jones said the Board will vote on the entire university budget, including out-of-state tuition and fees, in April.

“When you consider the uncertain nature of public funding, in-state tuition has historically been one of the most volatile pieces of the cost of education,” Jones said. “The William & Mary Promise eliminates that uncertainty and allows Virginia families to make informed decisions. And by setting this rate so far in advance of the normal schedule, in-state students applying during the regular cycle will know that cost well in advance of the January deadline.”

In 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 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.

Jones said Friday’s resolution continues an ongoing investment in more need-based financial aid and noted that raising money for scholarships is the top priority of William & Mary's recently announced campaign. Increased financial 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, Jones added. 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 is the third-lowest among all public universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia, behind just Norfolk State University and the University of Virginia-Wise. Radford University (fourth) and the University of Virginia (fifth) round out the top five lowest net prices for in-state students in the state.

“It’s important that any student from Virginia who is admitted to William & Mary be able to attend no matter what their financial situation is,” said President Taylor Reveley. “And if you come from a family who can afford to pay full freight, you are still getting excellent value for one of the best undergraduate educations in the world.”