RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors approved a budget Friday that includes an increase in tuition and mandatory fees of 6.4 percent for in-state undergraduate students.
As students pack up their belongings for the summer, Vaisali Chilamkurthy reflects on graduation.
"I've had such a great time here over the past four years, and the school is exactly what you want to make it," said Chilamkurthy.
But she recognizes the financial burden of her double pre-medicine/chemistry major.
"It's extremely expensive. It's a little upsetting. I had friends who couldn't come back another semester my freshman year, because they hadn't received proper financial aid," said Chilamkurthy.
Tuition is only getting higher. VCU approved it's budget - and announced it is increasing tuition for the 2018-19 school year.
VCU says the increase provides "$4.2 million for faculty positions, strategic hires and adjunct pay; $6 million in financial assistance for students; $2.8 million for utilities, library journal subscriptions, safety and compliance and building maintenance; and $6.1 million for a 3 percent merit-based increase for teaching and research faculty and a 1.5 percent merit-based increase for staff, effective Dec. 1."
Undergraduate students enrolled in 15 credits per semester will pay $14,490 in tuition and mandatory fees in the 2018-19 academic year, representing an $866 increase.
Out-of-state undergraduate students' tuition and mandatory fees will be $35,798, a $2,142 increase.
"That whole tuition hike...it's worrying me," said rising sophomore Josemari Santos.
Santos says the extra price jump is a hard bullet to bite.
"I'm just going to have to do my best and try to get out of here as fast as I can," said Santos. "That's all we can really do at this point, if we want a good education."
Rising senior Devonte Robertson is willing to pay more, if it improves the university, but fears it may stop students from choosing VCU.
"It just leaves us with a situation where we're going to say, 'well maybe college isn't worth it. Maybe you should go get a trade. Maybe you should not go to VCU, maybe you should try something else.'"
"You're definitely being given a good education. It's worth it, but good luck finding a way to pay for it," said Chilamkurthy.
VCU President Michael Rao says the "budget will help the university attract and retain nationally prominent faculty members who reflect our student population, including adjunct faculty members who have been paid below the national norm for too long."
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