VCU has set aside funds for in-state undergraduates to avoid its recently approved tuition hike for next year.
The Board of Visitors on Friday voted to reallocate $6.7 million from VCU’s fiscal year 2023 budget to cover increased tuition for the university’s 20,000 undergraduate students during the next academic year 2022-2023. The initiative will not apply to other types of students.
VCU President Michael Rao said the state financial support earmarked for the university in the newly approved state budget has helped make financial support for students possible. Tuition aid and a separate budget shortfall will necessitate cuts to the university’s spending plan, although no layoffs are expected.
“It’s not going to be easy; It is going to be difficult. We estimate that it will cost, one time, $6.7 million to provide these bursaries. This is, however, on top of the $10.8 million that we have to permanently cut that was already planned,” Rao said. “Reassignments will be necessary, but due to better than expected state support, not the worst-case scenario we spoke of in May, we will have the opportunity to mitigate a significant job cut.”
More than 60 full-time equivalents would have to be permanently cut through attrition or other non-firing means to make up the budget shortfall, chief financial officer Karol Kain Gray said. She added that an undetermined number of additional roles may not be filled as departments figure out how to manage their budget cuts related to the one-time reallocation of funds to tuition assistance.
“We anticipate that there will be 62 full-time equivalent positions that will be eliminated because they will leave or seek other employment, or will not be filled. I don’t recommend doing a layoff. We have distributed the cuts and each unit will determine which positions they will not fill, or they will realign based on their budget cuts,” Gray said. “The creation of the one-time scholarship fund is not about layoffs, but there could be staff reductions.”
To cover the financial support, VCU will reduce the funds to be given to some of its academic departments and draw on reserves.
The schools of nursing, pharmacy, business and medicine, in addition to the school of government and public affairs, are expected to see enrollment decline in the coming school year, as is the college of humanities. . These departments therefore receive smaller budgets, according to Gray.
Schools of education, social work, engineering and the arts are among those expected to increase enrollment, and they and other growing programs will receive increased funding.
“We wanted to continue to nurture schools that are doing well with enrollment growth,” she said.
VCU forecasts total revenue growth of $40.6 million and new spending of $51.4 million, which left a hole of $10.8 million which was offset by $8.5 million reductions in funding for academic and administrative departments and the use of other measures.
VCU’s total FY23 budget is $1.5 billion, a 5% increase over the FY22 budget. The FY23 Education Fund and General Fund was $723 million, an increase of 6.6%. The board voted in May to raise tuition by 3 percent.