By Stephanie Rice
University of Richmond students and their parents pay $49,190, a 5 percent increase, for tuition, room and board for the 2008-2009 school year.
Tuition will increase 3.3 percent to $38,350 and room and board will go up 13.9 percent each to $7,200. Then books, personal expenses, and loan interest bring the total to $49,190, said Herb Peterson, vice president of business and finance for the university.
The hiring of new full-time faculty and staff brought about the increase, he said.
"The University of Richmond has made great strides over the years and is one of the top 50 national liberal arts universities in the country," he said. "We must get better each year."
The university's Planning and Priorities Committee, made up of senior administrators, deans faculty and students, discussed the overall university budget and recommended an increase to President Edward Ayers. Ayers then reviewed the proposal and sent it to the Board of Trustees for final approval in January.
"Tuition increases are necessary and enable the institution to implement enhancements that directly benefit our students€”such as new faculty and staff positions and the renovation of the Commons that will take place this summer," Ayers said.
The increase will create two new faculty positions, one in the Business School and one in the School of Arts and Sciences, said Linda Evans, the university's assistant director of media and public relations. A new position will also be created in the Center for Civic Engagement and two new positions in Student Development, one to expand our outreach to students of color and one to help support Greek life, Evans said.
About 32 percent of students will pay the full cost of attendance and the other 68 percent will receive some type of aid based on each student's need, Financial Aid Director Cynthia Deffenbaugh said.
The Office of Financial Aid staff decides a students' need by subtracting his or her expected family contribution from the cost of attendance. A student's family contribution is decided by the federal government after the student fills out and files the free application for federal student aid.
Out of the $1.65 billion endowment the university will spend $41.2 million on financial aid in the 2008-2009 school year. About $12.1 million of that money is specifically allotted for financial aid. There will also be unrestricted endowment income totaling $26.9 million that may or may not be used for financial aid purposes. The endowment total is as of June 30, 2007.
"We are about 43rd in terms of size of endowment," Peterson said of the university's ranking when compared to other institutions of higher education in the United States. "I believe that we are about 10th in tuition alone. We rank in the sixties for tuition, room and board and that is the reason that the room and board increases are unusually high."
The university is part of 1 percent of schools in the United States that can afford to pay 100 percent of every eligible students need, Peterson said. This will continue to be true after the increase. Financial aid will still be determined by subtracting a student's family contribution from the cost of attendance, he said.
Students receiving aid must pay or get a loan to cover his or her family contribution no matter what kind of aid they receive. Aid is given out in the form of grants, loans and scholarships.
"Developing new approaches to access and affordability is a key element of the strategic-planning process now under way," Ayers said, "and I am committed to ensuring that the university remains accessible."
Response to the increase among students was varied.
"I felt like the tuition increase was done in a very covert manner," sophomore Ashley Murphy said in an e-mail. "I wasn’t aware of it until one of my classmates told me about it, after it had been decided upon. I believe the university should have informed us and our parents about the idea, along with a list of the exact reasons for the increase, before an agreement was made."
Students also were concerned with how the increase would affect diversity on campus.
"Increasing our reputation as a university is about attracting better students," sophomore Barrett Neale said. "Sure, it helps if we have more money to build more buildings, but we also have to take into consideration the financial impact this has upon the student body. We talk about increasing diversity, but as long as we increase tuition we will be hard-pressed to have any socioeconomic diversity on campus."
Freshman Natalia Virani said: "The increased tuition scares off more and more people from even considering to apply to the university; this increases the divide in the student diversity, as many students are turned away from UR because of its price tag."
Junior Katie Malczewski said she would rather have the money used for financial aid spent on professors' salaries.
"I feel like the $41.2 million spent on financial aid to help all the families who can’t afford the tuition hike would adequately pay four or five people's salaries," Malczewski said. "Accessibility is important, but this is a little over the top. We can’t buy our way to the top of U.S. News & World Report rankings."
The rest of the endowment and revenue earned by the university is spent on program services, management and general funds, and fundraising, according to a 2005 990 tax form obtained by The Collegian that covers July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006.
Program Services cost the university about $120 million within that year. According to the form, program services includes professors' salaries and other expenditures that benefit student instruction, research done by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, public services benefiting organizations outside the university such as the Center for Civic Engagement and academic support for all those previously mentioned.
Other program services also include the bookstore, housing, food services and athletics and student services such as admissions, student government, the chaplain's office and others.
About $72 million went toward salaries and wages, pension plans and employee benefits. Another $7 million was spent on supplies and another $7.2 million on "other."
Management and general funds include the salaries of former university President William Cooper, June Aprille, former provost and vice president for academic affairs and Peterson as well as other management employees. Cooper was paid $470,972, Aprille $278,320, and Peterson $219,627 which totaled about $1.33 million after adding contributions to pension plans and expense accounts.
The men's basketball coach, Chris Mooney, was the highest paid employee other than management with a salary of $321,296. David Johnson, the vice president for advancement, was next with $315,965. Professor of Finance Patrick Fishe was third with a salary of $249,399. The dean of the Business School, Jorge Haddock was next with $230,000. Former dean of the Law School Rodney Smolla was the fifth highest with a salary of $228,303.
Together with benefits, the total cost of these employees was about $1.6 million.
Other salaries and wages, pensions, and benefits of the management and general funds amounted to about $10.1 million. Supplies totaled about $449,000 and "other" was about $4.3 million.
For other services the university spent about $215,000 in legal fees, $2.19 million for printing and publications, and $4.44 million on travel. Most of the travel and printing and publications was done by those covered under program services. The legal fees were mainly spent by management and general funds.
The accounting firm that completed the tax form for the university, KPMG LLP, was the fifth highest paid for professional services with a bill of $110,000.
The top five highest paid companies for other services were all construction companies totaling about $14.9 million in fees.
The university made about $341.9 million in total revenue. About $19 million came from direct and indirect public support as well as government contributions. Program services revenue including government fees and contracts totaled about $85 million.
By the end of June 2006, the university had $546 million in investments and securities. Of that, $26 million was in corporate bonds and $447.9 million in common stocks.
The university made about $72.2 million from tuition in 2005-2006. That money was tax exempt as well as $11 million made from auxiliary enterprises, which include the bookstore, food services, housing and athletics. Altogether the bookstore made $3.98 million and Food Services $10.9 million, less returns and allowances.
The form states that the money is exempt because these departments provide "resources for the students and faculty on campus. Any revenue earned by these departments is used to cover expenses and therefore, sustain their operations throughout the year."