University Graduation and Commencement Ceremony

University President Tim Sands speaks at the University Graduation and Commencement Ceremony, Dec. 20, 2019.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors unanimously approved a tuition freeze Tuesday for resident and nonresident undergraduate, graduate and professional students for 2020-21 after the decision was recommended by the board’s Finance and Resource Management Committee on May 29.

According to Committee chair Letitia Long, the tuition freeze provides students and their families with financial stability and demonstrates “absolute commitment to our students and (makes) a Virginia Tech education accessible for those who seek it.”

In 2020-21, tuition and mandatory fees for resident undergraduates will be $13,749, while tuition and fees for nonresident undergraduates will be $32,893. Tuition and mandatory fees for resident graduate students will be $16,030, and nonresident undergraduates’ tuition and fees will be $30,547.

Based on the current 2019-20 budget, the board also approved a $1.63 billion preliminary budget for 2020-21 which reflects COVID-19’s impact on the university. The newly approved budget helps Virginia Tech navigate through the pandemic and “emerge from it financially strong and intact,” according to Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Dwayne Pinkney.

“Developing our budget incrementally will enable us to continue operations while providing additional time for us to understand the impacts on our major revenue categories,” Pinkney said. “As information becomes available, the university will be better positioned to react to base and/or one-time revenue fluctuations and the resultant impacts on the university budget.”

The board froze faculty compensation in its approval Tuesday, and it gave President Tim Sands authority to disperse furloughs to faculty members and impose budget cuts to control university finances.

Sands said that Virginia Tech will use these options minimally, and applications to reduce university leadership salaries temporarily and other initiatives will be utilized before faculty pay is reduced.

“Our commitment to retain and support our greatest asset – our faculty and staff – is strong. This authority involves just one of many potential strategies available to us to help sustain our talent pool,” Sands said. “Should significant budget reductions be necessary, implementation of salary reductions and/or furloughs will be considered together with other strategies, such as use of reserves, continued hiring freezes, and limited procurement.”

Meanwhile, the board discussed the decision to welcome students back to campus this fall in anticipation Virginia Tech will announce its decision Monday, June 8. If students return, Sands expects that only 30% of the students’ activities will be in-person at the beginning of the semester, and the percentage could increase if health and safety considerations are approved.

Sands described the decision as “a risk-based testing strategy” in which students will not need to return to campus following Thanksgiving break, since a spike in COVID-19 cases are expected to emerge in late-fall.

“Several options have been considered with health and safety as our guiding principle,” said Academics and Student Affairs Committee Chair Greta Harris. “These options would all terminate in-person and residential instruction before Thanksgiving and might vary in regard to when the fall semester would start and whether instruction would continue online after Thanksgiving.”

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