Meeting with Dean Zelikow- 03 December 2012

Currently tuition system at UVA is unique → to our detriment

  • Fluctuating charge based on kind and amount of course enrollment → graded vs. Ungraded
  • DOES NOT affect med, biomed, engineering → ONLY college portion of GSAS
  • High for the first 2 or 3 years ($28k incl fees) then negligible ($4k incl fees → only $806 is tuition) with flux in the middle years (out of state student #s)
    • most paid by GSAS to dept then back to GSAS
    • this year 100% of Ph.D. students are funded based on restructuring, some masters students are self paid, but rel. Rare
      • Depts. Discouraged from having masters programs
  • Based on the mix of graded and ungraded courses you choose to take
  • DGS’s have strong incentive to jam first years with graded classes → later years will even discourage taking graded classes

Why do we need a new structure:

  • Address future deficits in GSAS budget for upcoming years
    • Amount of tuition coming in has been overestimated (by ~$1 mil) for years
  • Give students freedom to take the classes they need, when they need them (incl. Audits)
  • Make the system understandable to everyone, simplify
  • Differentiate terminal/professional masters tuition rates from doctoral rates
    • related to value in job market (masters leads to value in marketplace in the short term, should charge accordingly)
  • Optimize tuition recovery from training grants, fellowship awards, and 3rd party funding
    • a lot of money left on the table for research grants because cost of our tuition is so low
  • Optimize tuition recovery from faculty research grants
  • Enable more accurate planning of revenue and spending
  • Mitigate scale of disparity between early and later rates
    • Hard for GSAS to do budget planning

Comparison to other institutions

  • Undergrad→ 38/83 institutions surveyed
  • Graduate→ 27/67 institutions surveyed
  • Trend: we are much lower than other institutions and the other units at the university → the lowest tuition charged by any unit at UVA
  • How/Why is this?
    • Nothing to gain as GSAS/depts. if tuition were increased
    • Departments with many PI's (eg. sciences): want tuition to be low because high tuition results in more charged on their grants
    • Historically: all tuition goes to central budget office, then is redistributed throughout the university
      • GSAS/depts. may or may not ever see again
    • So, there is incentive to oppose any sort of tuition increase on the part of faculty
    • This is different for other schools because they recycle tuition, have more autonomy → fought this battle years ago
      • Have managed to use these funds to their benefit
      • Units within UVA with autonomy have freedom to do great things within the university


  • UVA only higher than VT and Texas for first year rates
  • For advanced tuition: Lowest (we charge half of the next lowest school (Duke) whose advanced tuition takes effect in year 5)
  • Q: what about advanced funding packages (eg. 6 year packages) that are offered at other schools
    • These are very rare, begins to create perverse incentives, but other schools can afford this bc charge higher fees overall

Chronic weakness:

  • GSAS has challenging budget outlook for next year → can and should be self sufficient
  • Low tuition related to limited graduate support
  • Undifferentiated tuition discourages needed degree programs
  • Demonstrates the value of the new financial model
  • Q: are all schools going to start doing this (will it become standard business practice)?
    • Flat rates starting to be adopted universally, but there is no set of best practices that are standard universally, this is angering faculty at some schools

The Proposal:

  • Flat rate for years 1-3
    • No differentiation for different kinds of credit hours
  • Flat rate for 4 years to completion
  • Different rate for terminal/professional masters program
    • Opportunity for different departments to charge more eventually
  • ***Reduced comprehensive fee for students studying away from grounds
  • Limit use of “continuous enrollment” to its original purpose
    • just used for students who were finished until they could schedule their defense
    • not used for students studying away from grounds, as has been done previously
  • GSAS will recycle increased cash flow back into the support accounts by department
    • Essentially will take the place of central budget office, but will ensure money stays in GSAS/returns to departments from whence it came
  • Q: Is this going to force out grad students after the 4th year?
    • It will likely encourage timely matriculation, but other opportunities will exist to fund senior grad students if they need to stay
  • Q: How will this affect family (maternity/paternity) leave?
    • Family leave will essentially stop the clock on department support and will be picked up when you return → does not count against your four years of support
  • Q: if you study abroad for a year with outside funding, do you advance a year when you return?
    • Yes, this counts against your total years (unless your dept has a special deal with GSAS, eg. Anthro)


  • Reduce top rate by $1000
  • Increase rate for advanced doctoral students by $3500 (to $7382)
  • Increase rate for terminal/professional masters students by $1000
  • Sciences: won't charge more than $8000 to a grant → still cheaper than typical $10000 for other schools
    • Will offer incentives for depts. that support GSAS:
      • if your PI’s charge more to grants, then GSAS will return the money to the dept
    • Departments can only use this money to 1) hire more faculty or 2) raise grad support
      • Can’t use it to raise faculty salaries (excluding tenure promotion)


  • Raising tuition for unsupported students
    • Fix by pushing more fellowship money towards departments
  • There is now an increased incentive for long-term students to graduate


  • Will this affect everyone in the next school year?
    • Yes, but then money will be pushed back into the department to pad the legacy students
    • Will fund all departments next year as if restructuring was complete→ will allow support for all (hopefully)
  • How will TA wages change with this?
    • All TA tuition will be paid in full, dept does not have any incentive to lower stipend
  • What about departments who are having grad students teach instead of hiring adjunct faculty?
    • Completely separate, can lobby for the increased cost of living (tuition not supported) but will have health insurance paid
  • What will grad students have to face? Will departments actually use their funds to support legacy students?
    • This decision has been pushed to the departments → GSAS pushes funding to depts., it is up to depts. To designate for dissertation year fellowships
    • Effectively, GSAS is replacing central funding authority by making budgets by department and giving depts. More money back → gives them more discretion about what to do with it
    • Completion rates are important to the departments → don’t have incentive to keep students forever