UVM president plans to freeze tuition for fourth consecutive year

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UVM president plans to freeze tuition for fourth consecutive year

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 11:14am -- tim

UVM President Suresh Garimella holds news conference Wednesday to announce tuition rate will remain frozen (Photo: Andy Duback).

Vermont Business Magazine University of Vermont President Suresh Garimella today announced that he intends to continue helping students and families by proposing that tuition remain frozen at the same amount for a fourth consecutive year.

“Students graduating in UVM’s Class of 2023 will complete four years of study at the state’s flagship paying the same for tuition as they did when they started,” said Garimella. “We are intensely focused on reducing student debt so Catamounts can build their lives and careers without the burden of large loan payments.”

Garimella’s 2022-23 budget also proposes that the undergraduate student comprehensive fee remain frozen and that the graduate student comprehensive fee be reduced by $250. Room and board charges will remain flat for the third consecutive year under the plan. Room and board costs had been rising an average of 3.2% before Garimella froze them two years ago.

“At a time when families are still finding their way out of the economic stress of the pandemic, it is important that we further strengthen our commitment to student affordability and access,” said Garimella. “That is why I will recommend to the Board approval for a zero tuition increase next year for all students regardless of their degree level or residency status.”

Affordability, accessibility and quality of the student educational experience are core elements of the Amplifying Our Impact strategic vision, which is built around three pillars: ensuring student success, investing in our distinctive research strengths, and fulfilling UVM’s land grant mission. The Board of Trustees formally endorsed the strategic vision in May of 2020.

The Board of Trustees, UVM’s governing body, reviews and ultimately approves the spending plan for each academic year. Board members have expressed consistent support for cost controls and greater efficiency on the campus. 

“As a native Vermonter and a parent, I can confirm that families of college-bound students in our state and everywhere will be grateful for this news,” said Ron Lumbra, chair of the UVM Board of Trustees. “UVM will be one of a handful of universities in the nation to freeze tuition for four years.”

Garimella first announced his intention to freeze tuition in November of 2019, during his first six months as president. In October of 2020, he announced a plan to keep tuition frozen for another year. If UVM’s Board of Trustees approves the plan he announced today, tuition will remain the same for four consecutive years, for in-state and out-of-state undergraduate and graduate students.

“This reflects the commitment of our entire faculty and staff to do everything we can to maintain affordability for our students,” said Garimella. “Funding a college education is one of the largest expenditures that families face. It is an investment that is increasingly important to securing a young person’s future success, but college is slipping from the reach of many families. These moves on behalf of our students are an investment in our collective future.”

To further strengthen financial support for students, last fall Garimella announced the launch of the Student Opportunity, Access, and Recruitment (SOAR) fundraising campaign. The campaign has raised more than $45 million to support undergraduate and graduate students with new scholarships, programs and services. A centerpiece of SOAR is the President’s new Common Ground scholarship. This scholarship will support underrepresented and underserved students, making it possible for them to attend UVM and focus on their education rather than whether they will have sufficient resources for basic needs.

Each year, UVM provides more than $160 million in scholarships and financial assistance, making it possible for over 90 percent of Vermont students to receive some scholarship or financial support, with close to half of them paying no tuition at all.

These initiatives reflect UVM’s institutional values. “At the University of Vermont, our driving force is our commitment to our students. Our most sacred responsibility is to provide an excellent education that is accessible and affordable. All of these steps align with the priorities I outlined at the start of my tenure, and are core components of the Amplifying Our Impact strategic vision,” he said. 

When Garimella first recommended a zero tuition increase in 2019, it was a historic announcement. The university had not frozen tuition in more than 40 years. “The circumstances that required the shift two years ago remain our current reality,” said Garimella. “Higher education’s financial model must adapt to these realities in order to serve the best interests of our students,” he said. 

“Tuition increases are not the solution to the budget pressures facing higher education. And it is not prudent, nor is it practical, to expect students—and families—to absorb continually rising costs. An endless upward spiral would be counter to UVM’s Our Common Ground values. Instead, the university will continue to ensure its operating costs are contained, while seeking additional revenue through innovative educational offerings, growing our research partnerships and philanthropy.”

About the University of Vermont

Since 1791, the University of Vermont has worked to move humankind forward. UVM’s strengths align with the most pressing needs of our time: the health of our societies and the health of our environment. Our size—large enough to offer a breadth of ideas, resources, and opportunities, yet intimate enough to enable close faculty-student mentorship across all levels of study—allows us to pursue these interconnected issues through cross-disciplinary research and collaboration. Providing an unparalleled educational experience for our students, and ensuring their success, are at the core of what we do. As one of the nation’s first land grant universities, UVM advances Vermont—and the broader society—through the discovery and application of new knowledge.

UVM is derived from the Latin “Universitas Viridis Montis” (University of the Green Mountains)

Source: BURLINGTON, Vt. — UVM Sept. 15, 2021