BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) — University of Vermont President Suresh Garimella proposed Monday that the school freeze tuition and room and board costs for students.
If approved by the Board of Trustees, the cost of attending UVM next fall will actually drop for the first time in recent memory.
“Annual tuition increases, even modest ones, are not the solution for the budget pressures facing higher education,” he said. “It is not prudent nor is it practical to absorb continually rising costs.”
Garimella said the school has a “sacred responsibility” to offer an affordable education and increase access to UVM. “We need to stay focused on the future and that future rests in the hands of our young people, our students. It’s critical we do all we can to clear the pathways to their success,” he said.
UVM charges $18,800 for tuition to in-state students. Out-of-state students pay about double that. Meanwhile, room and board is about $13,000 and increases by 3.2% every year. The school also charges $2,000 comprehensive fee.
If implemented, Garimella says the cuts will be a significant accomplishment. “For the first time in more than three decades, there will be no increase in room or board,” he said.
For the one student, the pandemic interrupted the last few months of her freshman year.
Sophomore Anna Feloni, whose freshman year was interrupted by the pandemic, said while she understood having to transition online, she values her in-person education and is happy to be back on-campus.
“I really appreciate it, and I really appreciate everyone at UVM stance on the importance of education and making it as authentic as possible during this time,” she said.
Garimella also announced a new fundraising initiative, the Student Opportunity Access and Recruitment Campaign, with a goal of $150 million for financial aid programs for undergrad and graduate students.
Students will also be able to apply for the President’s Common Ground Scholarship, which works to support underserved and underrepresented students. So far, the campaign has raised $18 million.
Garimella explained COVID-related costs caused a majority of UVM staff and faculty to take a 5% wage cut. Some senior leaders sacrificed a month’s salary.
“This reflects the commitment of our university community to do all we can to help maintain affordability,” said Garimella.