Alger BoV

The proposal to raise tuition and fees will be voted on April 16.

The JMU Board of Visitors (BoV) held a virtual public comment March 30 to announce the proposals for tuition and fee raises that’ll be voted on April 16.

This public comment was hosted by Charles King, senior vice president of administration and finance, with no additional speakers. King started the presentation by referring to JMU’s mission statement as a defense for the proposed increase in tuition and fees. King said JMU “very much depends on” the revenue made by tuition and fees.

Tuition Raise Proposals

King said the tuition increase is important to keep JMU running. For in-state undergraduate tuition, the raise will be $0-$282. For non-resident undergraduate tuition, the raise will be $0-$236. For Virginia graduate tuition, the raise will be $0-$14 per credit hour. For the required undergraduate auxiliary fee, the raise will be $0-$98.

“We work every day to try and uphold the mission statement,” King said. “Unfortunately, to do that, it takes resources, and the ability to generate those resources are limited.”

Return on Investment

King described an education at JMU as a “worthwhile investment.” For the second year in a row, JMU has been named the best college for getting a job in Virginia, according to Zippia. Zippia is a company dedicated to help people find jobs according to their skill sets and experiences.

“If you graduate from JMU, you can be assured that you are going to get a good job,” King said. “This is comparing this to all the other universities in Virginia.”

Compared to other public universities in Virginia, King said that JMU is the least funded by the state. The average Virginia general fund per in-state FTE (full-time equivalent) is $7,301. JMU has $5,394 per in-state FTE.

Education and General (E&G) Budget

The E&G budget is primarily funded by tuition revenue. 66.8% of this revenue is solely from student tuition. The state funds about 30.1% of the revenue for this budget, with the rest coming from “miscellaneous sources.”

The E&G budget discussed at the public comment was $361.9 million and will be used for different services and resources at JMU. 75% of this budget is used for “compensation,” which was described by King as anything accessible to students through their JACard. This includes computer labs, university transit systems and equipment rental. 9.4% of this budget is dedicated to financial aid and scholarships. Utilities such as water, electricity and gas equal around 6.6% of the budget. The remaining 9% is in the category “All Other.”

Auxiliary Budget

The Auxiliary budget is primarily funded by the comprehensive fee every student pays in their tuition. This covers some of the costs used for student resources and facilities like the University Health Center, the University Recreational Center and the Student Success Center.

King said the difference between the Auxiliary budget and the E&G budget is that the Auxiliary budget is self-sustaining. No revenue is acquired by the state for this budget.

Looking Forward

King broke the last portion of the event into two segments — JMU's strengths and the challenges it faces in upcoming years.

King said that JMU’s strengths come from the quality of the education for an “affordable” price. He said JMU is fifth in terms of lowest student tuition at public universities in Virginia. King also said this low tuition added with the undergraduate-focused staff make for a “high return on investment.”

One of the biggest challenges, King said, is COVID-19’s continuous impact. Not only does this mean additional resources are being spent toward testing, quarantining and upholding safety measures— it also results in uncertainty in enrollment and fundraising.

King said he was optimistic because of the federal stimulus packages that JMU’s received.

“If it wasn’t for the federal stimulus packages, the tuition and fee increases would be much higher than they are now,” King said.

Contact Michael Staley at stale2ma@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.