HARRISONBURG — The James Madison University board of visitors voted unanimously Friday to raise tuition and fees for the upcoming school year, even without a final version of the state’s budget.
The board raised in-state tuition and fees $302 to $5,406, and out-of-state tuition and fees to $20,266, which is a $684 increase.
Graduate student fees will go up $24 per credit hour for Virginia residents and $40 for nonresidents. That’s a total of $434 and $1,135 per credit hour, respectively.
Room and board will rise by $309 to $8,828.
JMU’s total 2014-15 budget, which takes effect with the new fiscal year on July 1, will be $502.4 million, $25.6 million more than this year’s.
Even with the tuition increase, JMU ranks 11th for in-state tuition cost and 10th for non-Virginia residents, out of 15 public universities and colleges in the state.
Virginia’s most expensive public schools are the College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia and the Virginia Military Institute.
JMU’s costs are rising because of mandatory price hikes for employees’ health insurance and the university’s contributions to the Virginia Retirement System, according to Charles King, senior vice president for administration and finance.
Next year, JMU’s employer contributions to VRS will be 12.33 percent per employee, while this year it contributes 8.76 percent.
The board typically approves tuition and fees at its April meeting, but did not this year amid uncertainty about the amount of funding JMU will receive in the state budget, which has yet to be adopted by the General Assembly. Lawmakers have failed to reach a deal on a new spending plan as they remain locked in a stalemate over whether to expand Medicaid.
King said all the state’s colleges have set tuition and fees for next year except for Old Dominion University.
The House of Delegates and state Senate, in their separate versions of the new budget, would give James Madison more money than what former Gov. Bob McDonnell included in his outgoing spending proposal, but the two chambers’ allocations for the university range millions of dollars apart.
King said he added the proposals and took the average to estimate what the school could be working with in the next school year, building in some areas for flexibility if the final budget comes back below what was estimated.
JMU has not determined what it may give faculty and staff for raises, according to spokesman Don Egle, so that’s one area that’s subject to change.
Even if the state comes back with lower proposed revenues than anticipated, tuition will stay at the levels approved by the board Friday, Egle said. The board would find other areas to cut instead of meeting again to raise tuition even more.
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