Author Archives: Thomas Neale

The Jefferson Council President: Massive Expense Reductions Must Be Priority For New BOV

Since our inception four years ago, The Jefferson Council has relentlessly fought to implement our four founding pillars:

  1. Promote a culture of civil dialogue, the free exchange of competing ideas and intellectual diversity throughout the University
  2. Preserve the Jefferson Legacy
  3. Preserve the appearance of the Lawn as a UNESCO World Heritage site
  4. Support and reinvigorate the Honor System

Mr. Jefferson’s legacy cannot be preserved unless we ensure that the cost of a University of Virginia (UVA) education remains competitive with our peer universities. One of the many historical competitive advantages of UVA has been its 33% out-of-state undergraduate student body representation. This is a much higher percentage than our public university top-ranked competitors. The UVA undergraduate student body bears a close resemblance to quality private universities whose students come from states across America. As a result, we must be aware we are competing for middle class parents who desire a stellar education for their children but cannot afford comparable private college tuition.

You will see from the chart below that UVA is the most expensive top 50 public university in America. Perhaps more amazingly, a third and fourth year out-of-state undergraduate at UVA is charged more than his or her counterparts at Harvard.

COST OF ATTENDANCE FOR 2024-2025:

UNIVERSITY NAME
IN-STATE COST OF ATTENDANCE
OUT-OF-STATE COST OF ATTENDANCE
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT RANKING
UNIVERSITY COST LINK

Princeton

N/A

$86,700

#1

Click for Princeton Costs

Harvard

N/A

$82,866

#3

Click for Harvard Costs.

Duke

N/A

$88,938

#7

Click for Duke Costs

Cal-Berkeley

$48,638

$82,838

#15 (tie)

Click for Cal Berkeley Costs

UCLA

$42,127

$76,327

#15 (tie)

Click for UCLA Costs

Vanderbilt

$94,072

$94,072

#18

Click for Vanderbilt Costs

Michigan

1st and 2nd year: $33,214

3rd and 4th year: $35,376

1st and 2nd year: $74,058

3rd and 4th year: $78,128

#21

Click for Michigan Costs1

UNC

$27,036

$60,040

#22

Click for UNC Costs

Florida

$23,530

$45,808

#28

Click for Florida Costs

Wisconsin

$30,008

$61,106

#35

Click for Wisconsin Costs

Georgia

$28,862

$49708

#47

Click for Georgia Costs

Virginia

1st year: $39,494

2nd year:
$40,556

3rd and 4th year: $43,558

McIntire: $52,420

1st year:
$79,574

2nd year:
$80,636

3rd and 4th year: $83,658

McIntire:
$93,022

#24

Click for UVA Costs

1 Michigan’s 2024-2025 costs not yet published; numbers are for 2023-2024

 

Quite simply, UVA is not competitive. I have no doubt we are losing well-qualified out-of-state students whose middle-class parents need to save money and are thus sending their children to less expensive quality state universities versus the private options. Of note is the University of North Carolina (UNC) which has been ranked higher than UVA for the past several years and is over $20,000 less expensive.

As of July 1, Governor Youngkin’s appointees now comprise the voting majority on the Board of Visitors (BOV). They must aggressively address the bloated administrative costs at UVA and slash expenses with a vengeance. The broadly defined middle class is being shut out since Access UVA scholarship aid stops at $125,000 in family income — excluding at least 40% of all families classified as “middle class” according to the Pew Research Center. The financial reality of our high tuition charges is that they prohibit deserving middle-class students from attending. The out-of-state student body is now comprised of the upper 5% family income portion of America or the poor/lower middle class. Where is the economic diversity in our student body?

Given the abysmal publicity the Ivies have received over their post-October 7 campus riots, Forbes and other media outlets are mentioning UVA as a “public Ivy” alternative. If we slash expenses and become truly competitive, we will benefit from this decision. If we don’t, UNC and the other “public Ivies” shown above will get top-drawer students who might otherwise attend UVA given the large cost differential. I spent four decades in corporate finance and would argue that the BOV needs to start forcing pragmatic business modeling philosophies on the very out-of-touch administrators who run UVA. You don’t beat the competition by pricing your product out of the market.

If expenses were slashed and savings applied to tuition reduction, we would see a huge increase in highly qualified out-of-state applicants. That’s just common sense, and frankly, the right thing to do. Massive expense reductions must be a high priority for the new BOV in the September Board meeting.

Rest assured that The Jefferson Council will continue to highlight these expense realities to the Board. We will not relent until hundreds of millions of dollars are slashed from the University’s bloated overhead expenses and applied directly to tuition reductions, making UVA the most competitive elite state university in America.

If you share our values and concerns, please join us in this battle with your financial support — we are stronger together.

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