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.







Click for Princeton Costs





Click for Harvard Costs.





Click for Duke Costs




#15 (tie)

Click for Cal Berkeley Costs




#15 (tie)

Click for UCLA Costs





Click for Vanderbilt Costs


1st and 2nd year: $33,214

3rd and 4th year: $35,376

1st and 2nd year: $74,058

3rd and 4th year: $78,128


Click for Michigan Costs1





Click for UNC Costs





Click for Florida Costs





Click for Wisconsin Costs





Click for Georgia Costs


1st year: $39,494

2nd year:

3rd and 4th year: $43,558

McIntire: $52,420

1st year:

2nd year:

3rd and 4th year: $83,658



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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6 days ago

Mr. Neale – let’s hope BOV Orientation includes finance because you have hit on a large contributor to UVa’s declining academic rankings (from #2 to #5) in US News & World report. My concern is fiscal discipline will become politicized because of your group’s antagonistic relationship with UVa administration. UVa would lose out if that happens. Your arguments here are math-based. Unmentioned however is the unintended consequences of UVa’s needs-blind admissions policy resulting in fewer tuition dollars to recruit and retain top faculty. Recruiting strong students who can’t pay helps UVa and helps these students. As an alum and as someone who took out loans for UVa – I love the policy. And the only way to ensure its survival is to cut costs. As for Athletics – they would benefit massively since their costs are full tuition scholarships – mostly for out of state student athletes. That is the math. We need to cut costs yesterday.

walter smith
walter smith
6 days ago
Reply to  HooDaMan

“My concern is fiscal discipline will become politicized because of your group’s antagonistic relationship with UVa administration.”

The politicization is not from TJC. Look at our 4 Pillars. Real diversity of thought and real free speech is…political? Preserving Jefferson’s legacy and the honor code? THOSE ARE IN THE BOV Manual! Preserving the UNESCO World Heritage site?

Seriously, how could anybody claiming to love UVA be opposed to those things?

One would think leadership of Jefferson’s University would welcome such a group. The question is why not? And the answer is the leadership doesn’t really mean the “unequivocal” support for free speech.

There are tons of costs that can be cut. I think 1/3rd of the course catalog is worthless… Maybe more. Examine how Purdue has had a freeze for 13 years.

6 days ago
Reply to  walter smith

What Purdue continues to do shows it can be done. If there is will. To measure how much cost – UNC (only other public U that is needs-blind) and VA Tech each have cost/student 40% lower than UVa. And UNC receives > 2x funding (absolute not per student) from state than does UVa. This should tell you that UVa needs to cut costs more than 40%. Instead – BOV just approved $100mm increase to academic budget or 7%. Who can educate BOV on the math?

Walter smith
Walter smith
6 days ago
Reply to  HooDaMan

You just pointed out more. So if outsiders can see this low hanging fruit, why isn’t it being plucked?

5 days ago
Reply to  HooDaMan

HooDaMan, it appears we agree on the larger issue that costs need to be cut. TJC has been imploring the BOV to rein in costs for years since the Ryan Administration continues to spend with impunity. Administrative staff – DEI and other staff overhead across all academic departments – has ballooned under Ryan.

How is pointing this out repeatedly creating an “antagonistic” relationship with the UVA administration? What do you suggest we do, just chat among ourselves and shake our heads in disgust?

We will continue to forcefully but respectfully speak up and hope that the new Youngkin appointees’ controlled BOV can finally take the concrete actions to drastically cut expenses that Rector Hardie and President Ryan have steadfastly refused to do themselves. The BOV majority has to force them to do so.

3 days ago
Reply to  Wahoo74

Mr Neale. If you have the bandwidth – educating the BOV on how its current cost structure imperils academics and shuts out middle class families – is a good start. What a great service to UVa. Thank you.

Boston Reader
Boston Reader
2 days ago

I’m curious how many out of state students receive financial aid. In other words, how many parents actually pay the rack rate? Unexplored in these discussions is the increasingly small percentage of higher income families that pay the inflated rates and therefore subsidize everyone else.

2 days ago

As to priorities, let’s stop beating around the bush! Ryan is the very root of all these problems, pure and simple, full stop! Get rid of him!!!

The issues have been exhaustively revealed and identified. And they all go back to him. Enough talk, time to act! Send him off now!!!

Legacy Grad 69'
Legacy Grad 69'
1 day ago

The Leftists in control of Academia are certainly successful at the redistribution of income. Just keeping pace with inflation from 1969 would have resulted in instate tuition at $7,000 and out of state at $11,000 at Virginia. U,C. Berkeley was free when I went to grad school 1972/73 for in state. Take the lead BOV!