To maintain and build on the College’s leadership position in liberal arts education, significant investments must continue to be made.
As the University shifts toward a new financial model, the College’s proposed 2016 fiscal year budget will rely on four main sources of income. About 60 percent of the budget will come from tuition revenue, and the remaining 40 percent is divided into roughly equal parts: sponsored research (13 percent), philanthropy (13 percent), and subvention—a means by which general funds from the state come to the University (13 percent).
Enrollments in the College have been relatively flat, but recently we are seeing some growth. Undergraduate credit hours are up by about 3,400 credit hours across A&S, or slightly more than one percent this semester. Spring enrollments were strong, and the trends indicate more growth in the semesters to come. As we have discussed in recent faculty meetings, credit hours are critical to our faculty hiring plans since tuition revenue follows enrollment in the new University financial model. Our overall budget and hiring plans require a continued growth of 4,500 credit hours in each of the next three years, and the Dean’s Office will continue to ask all departments and academic units to develop and promote courses that contribute to that growth while remaining consistent with our core academic mission.
From a broader perspective, the University—like most across the nation—has faced economic pressure as the cost of higher education draws increasing scrutiny. U.Va. has been focused on increasing affordability while simultaneously strengthening its position as a world leader in education.
On March 25, the Board of Visitors adopted the “Affordable Excellence” program with the intent of reducing student debt while continuing to affirm the University’s position as one of the best values in higher education. The $1,000 step increase added to base tuition for entering in-state first-years will support the University’s AccessUVa financial aid budget with the end goal of making U.Va. more affordable for the majority of students.
In this era of state budget cuts, the BOV finance subcommittee also recommended a series of “revenue levers” including an increase in endowment spending, debt restructuring, and a focused alignment of fundraising toward strategic priorities. These efforts support the implementation of the University’s Cornerstone Plan, and our work in A&S is vital to the Plan’s success. For example, faculty hiring is a critical component of both the Cornerstone Plan and the strategic planning of the College.