By Tonia Moxley
In-state undergraduates at Virginia Tech, like students at other state colleges and universities, will pay slightly more to attend next fall, but not as little as Gov. Bob McDonnell had hoped.
At its second special meeting on the issue this afternoon, Tech's Board of Visitors voted unanimously to boost annual tuition and mandatory fees for in-state students by 3.9 percent for 2012-13, or $10,923. That's up from $10,509 last year.
Room and board will also go up, charges for different dormitories vary. Charges for other classes of students will also increase, but attention this year has focused on in-state students and their families.
At a special meeting held April 20, the board had refused to even discuss publicly a proposed 4.9 percent increase for in-state students.
This time around a minority of board members expressed support for the original proposal, including Bill Holtzman, who said 4.9 percent "does not look as bad as it did a month ago when we were talking about it.
"I don't want to sacrifice the quality of this school," Holtzman said.
Other members, citing McDonnell's wish that public colleges and universities limit increases in in-state charges to 2.7 percent, argued for the more modest 3.9 percent bump.
Board Rector George Nolen asked university President Charles Steger if he could balance Tech's budget with a 3.9 percent increase.
"I mean, yeah," Steger answered. "But we will slow the progress of the university by doing so."
With this modest increase, Steger and his administration must by July 1 cut or restructure Tech's more than $1 billion budget to make up for a $14.6 million shortfall.
Even if the board had approved the 4.9 percent tuition increase, the university would be short $13.3 million, Tech Chief Financial Officer Dwight Shelton told the members.
According to Shelton's presentation, the cuts will weaken the university's information technology structure, cut student financial aid and compromise growth in distance learning initiatives, among other sacrifices.