State colleges to education panel: bridge funding needed

The Community College of Vermont on Main Street in Bennington.

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MONTPELIER — The Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges System this week unanimously approved a base tuition for Vermonters enrolling at Vermont State University of $9,999 per year in undergraduate programs, commencing with the launch of the new university on July 1, 2023.

This reflects a 15 percent decrease from the current average in-state tuition at the unifying institutions — Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College. After holding tuition rates flat for two years to address the key strategic priority of student affordability, the Board said in a news release that it was pleased to announce an in-state tuition rate that lowers a barrier to access for many Vermonters and increases the attractiveness of pursuing higher education in Vermont for out-of-state students.

The base tuition rate for out-of-state students was also lowered and will start at $19,998. Approximately 70 percent of students attending the future Vermont State University are Vermonters, and 30 percent are out-of-state students.

Currently enrolled students matriculating into Vermont State University from the unifying colleges will see adjustments to their financial aid to reflect the change in tuition, resulting in a net cost of attendance for tuition and program fee that is equal to, or less than, Academic Year 2022-2023. Tuition for Vermont State students has been held steady at the 2019-2020 rate for the last two years. The reset of tuition continues this trend.

“Increasing college affordability is my top priority,” Vermont State University President Parwinder Grewal stated in the release. “When we lower financial barriers to higher education, we create more diverse and accessible classrooms while strengthening the pathways to economic mobility that we offer Vermonters. As a first-generation college student myself, I am deeply committed to ensuring that all students can access learning, no matter their backgrounds. Vermont State University serves a tremendous number of students who are the first in their families to attend college, adult learners pursuing career education, and are juggling work, school, and family obligations. I am proud to be making changes to better serve all students who pursue their goals with Vermont State University.”

Vermont State Colleges System Chancellor Sophie Zdatny added, “The mission of the Vermont State Colleges system is to provide affordable, high quality, student-centered, and accessible education. Lowering the new university’s tuition rate is the most direct and student-centered way to fulfill this mission. It is imperative that we create a state-wide system that all Vermonters can use as their gateway to education and workforce development. I applaud this decision by the Board and the leadership of President Grewal and his team in presenting a solution with positive implications for our students, now and in the future.

“Vermont has long been an outlier in New England and nationally with one of the highest tuition rates for in-state students in the country. This strategic move puts Vermont State University in line with peer institutions in New England, and very close to the national average of $9,400,” she added. “At a time of rapid inflation when colleges and universities across the country are increasing tuition, I am pleased we are able to offer this lower rate at Vermont State University.”


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