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William & Mary reverses planned tuition increase in response to COVID-19

William & Mary reverses planned tuition increase in response to COVID-19

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William & Mary campus

A student walked past a statue of Thomas Jefferson on the College of William & Mary campus in Williamsburg.

The College of William & Mary is keeping tuition and mandatory fees flat next year.

The university’s board of visitors unanimously voted Tuesday to roll back a tuition increase it approved in the fall for incoming in-state undergraduate students. Instead, all students will pay the same rates they did this year to attend William & Mary, which has estimated that financial losses caused by the coronavirus through August to be between $13 million and $32 million.

“COVID-19 has negatively impacted the education, finances and well-being of our students and families,” said Rector John Littel. “The university has worked tirelessly to ensure that the pandemic causes as little disruption to learning as possible, but it is also important to look for ways to lessen the financial burden many are facing and remove some uncertainty for families.”

While tuition and mandatory fees are staying flat, students that do return to campus will be subject to a 2.9% increase in the average room rate and up to a 3% increase in the meal plan rate.

The governing board voted in September to increase tuition 3% for new in-state undergraduate students. State lawmakers included money for a statewide tuition freeze in their budget approved in March, but the General Assembly axed plans for the second straight year of keeping rates flat under a plan Gov. Ralph Northam proposed to suspend new spending in the state budget.

Other colleges, including Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and Christopher Newport University in Newport News, have also agreed on plans to hold tuition steady in response to the economic fallout and the uncertainty of when students will return to campus.

Amy Sebring, William & Mary’s vice president for finance and technology, said Tuesday that the Williamsburg school, which has instituted a hiring freeze, is moving forward on the assumption that “we will have students back on campus in August, while recognizing that we are likely going to have to modify the ways in which we’re serving students.”

President Katherine Rowe said details on the university’s COVID-19 planning and in-person classes will be announced in June.

“We are continuing to make decisions in a measured, phased way, taking the steps required to flatten the curve of financial impact due to COVID-19,” Rowe said. “Bringing our campus back together safely is an enormous task and also a hopeful one because it is a key step in the path forward to a post-COVID-19 William & Mary.”

jmattingly@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6012

Twitter: @jmattingly306

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