Tuition increase vital
BOV hears from Smith
By Carol Wood
Smith came to the Board
of Visitors Saturday morning as chairman of the Faculty Senate
to report on the Senates agenda for the coming year.
BOV members got instead was an impassioned speech on the states
inability to support higher education, an inside look at faculty
thinking and an urgent plea to raise tuition to a level that will
adequately fund the core mission of the University while keeping
it in the game with the likes of other top public universities,
including Michigan and North Carolina.
the board to an academic lecture filled with facts, arguments,
rhetorical questions and a strong closing summary, Smith hammered
home the need for U.Va. to take decisive action regarding a tuition
increase that he believes could help stave off catastrophe.
recognize that this means a significant rise in tuition
well beyond the one-time surcharge you are considering,
Smith said, adding that he hoped it would be larger than the $200
figure that has been discussed. As a parent of a first-year student,
Smith said that he willingly would pay the increase with
the recognition that its fair, its necessary
no, its more than necessary, its vital.
Ayers and others have laid out a vision in which we phase in a
tuition rise that brings us to levels comparable to those at Michigan,
Smith said. As long as we build in additional financial
this seems to me, and I believe to the majority of
faculty, the only way we can control our own destiny.
said that in the 1970s, according to former University of Michigan
President James Duderstadt, Michigan decided that the state wouldnt
support a first-tier university, so the institution decided to
build one by itself.
to past state-mandated tuition rollbacks and consecutive years
of tuition freezes, U.Va.s in-state undergraduate tuition
this year is $3,321 (no fees included) more than $500 less
than it was in 1995. With fees, U.Va.s tuition comes to
$4,556, and when compared with Michigans $7,000-plus annual
tuition, it is no wonder that U.Va. tuition does not come close
to helping in this time of state fiscal crisis, Smith said. Despite
Michigans plan, the state continues its support, investing
$17,082 per student versus Virginias general fund appropriation
of $12,695 per student.
said he was not suggesting walking away from state funding, but
that reliance on it was not enough, as the Michigan model has
shown. And while we are enormously grateful for the financial
support of our donors, we know that even historically high levels
of private support cannot make up for the cuts we are sustaining.
greatest danger, Smith said, lies in losing good faculty and graduate
students to other institutions and the inability to recruit and
hire new faculty who will keep the academic atmosphere fresh and
faculty believe that a hiring freeze is more damaging than a salary
freeze, because they know that a competitive university needs
integrate into its life the talented researchers and
teachers of the next generation.