VSC Faces System Wide Tuition Hike And New Degree Programs

Board of TrusteesFAIRLEE- The Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees held annual retreat at the Lake Morey Resort beginning Tuesday, September 17th. During Tuesdays general board meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved an average of a 2.8% overall tuition hike for all schools across the VSC system.

 For students at Northern Vermont University, that translates to a $720 increase for an out of state student, and about $336 for a student who lives in state. Castleton will see a 2.9% increase across the board for all students, translating to an additional $816 for non-Vermonters, and a $336 increase for Vermonters in regular programs, while Vermonters in the Nursing program will be faced with a $432 increase. Vermont Technical College will also see a 2.9% increase across the board for all students. Just like Castleton, it varies by program, with Dental Hygiene and Nursing programs paying more than regular programs. At CCV however, the increase isn’t as steep, seeing only a 1.4% increase meaning out of state students would pay only an additional $8, and Vermonters paying an extra $4. The major difference between CCV and the other institutions is a rate change for room and board.  

Church Hindes, chair of the Board of Trustees noted that, “our discussion of the tuition increases, and what they really translate into for individual families as well as for the system, has become much more sophisticated in the last couple of years. When we understand the offsetting impact of discounting for example, as to how a 2.9% increase will really translate, to be that for full ticket paying customers, when we have relatively few and depending on what the discount practices are, the actual amount received is going to be different and our practices to establish these, has ceilings. So individual presidents might actually choose to increase it less. So it used to be a fairly straight forward calculation and discussion, now its become a little more complicated. But really a more accurate way to think about it.” 

This comes after the Board of Trustees and the long range planning committee wrapped up a campus listening tour across the system to talk about their “Securing the Future” white paper. The white paper was a letter addressing the concerns faced by the VSC system as a whole, and listed potential solutions to the issue. Here at NVU-Lyndon, there was a lot of backlash from students, staff, and the community about details outlined in the paper. Professor Brandon Stroup explained that “Jeb and the Board make it quite clear in the white paper that they believe that the VSC system is too small for campuses, faculty and staff, but it is big enough to pay for a central office that continues to grow and centralize and consolidate more functions that were once performed at the campuses in a much more efficient fashion.”  In a unanimous decision made on Wednesday the 18th, the board directed the the Chancellor to make recommendations before December 3rd. Those recommendations specifically include strengthening the newly-unified Northern Vermont University.   


While the tuition increase may be a disappointment to some, some good news did come to light at the meeting shortly after the vote to raise tuition. The Board approved a new Bachelors of Science degree to be offered on both campuses of Northern Vermont University in data science that would allow students to acquire certain skill sets preparing them to enter an industry which is thirsting for people who have the proper qualifications. According to Provost Nolan Atkins, the new degree would train students to be able to identify and process all things data. Provost Atkins explains that “its a great mesh of expertise on both campuses.  It will be offered on both campuses and there won’t be any need for additional full time hiring.” NVU would join UVM and St. Michaels to offers such a degree program, but the only one in the Northeast Kingdom. It will make NVU the only school in the VSC school system to offer that degree.