A number of changes are coming to Virginia Tech. While some are related to the over-enrollment news that broke last spring, others include changes in tuition, expanding campus buildings and improving old facilities.
With Virginia Tech’s original target number of incoming freshman students surpassed by 1,000 more acceptances, the university faced the question of how to accommodate around 7,500 new students.
The over-enrollment issue arose after more than 1,000 additional students said “yes” to their Virginia Tech acceptances last spring. With such a large number, the university had to take measures for dealing with the uptick in acceptances, including waiving the requirement for freshman to live on campus and offering incentives to have students attend Virginia Tech later than fall 2019. These incentives include scholarship-promised gap years, community college options and starting classes earlier in the summertime.
“It's awkward to say, but this is a great challenge to be faced with it because so many people want to be at Virginia Tech,” said Mark Owczarski, assistant vice president of university relations at Virginia Tech. “If we were forcing them to come, it would be a different kind of story. But this is not the case. Students are saying, ‘we want to be here.’”
One of the most common questions that arose involved housing for the students.
Starting in the fall, Virginia Tech will house approximately 325 students in the first three floors of the Inn at Virginia Tech and 195 students at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites hotels near the Blacksburg campus. According to VT News, the facilities will have live-in staff, resident advisors (RAs) and other forms of dorm-style arrangements and activities to help provide a “community-centered experience and safe environment.”
Moreover, the University’s response to the question of dining on campus is having “expanded hours, maximized menu offerings for efficiency and grab-and-go options.”
Regardless of the influx of students, class sizes will remain the same. However, the university will add additional sections for high-demand courses, and several of the colleges are in the hiring process to increase the number of faculty to teach these additional classes.
As far as Blacksburg is concerned, some say the sudden increase of students poses a massive problem for the small town.
“We have three months to find some place to house all these freshmen,” said Blacksburg Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith to The Washington Post. “A thousand people in a very small town … There aren’t places for people to go. They don’t exist.”
The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors voted unanimously to freeze the tuition cost for in-state, resident undergraduate tuition at $11,420 for the 2019-2020 school year.
However, while the tuition cost will freeze, mandatory fees for resident students will increase by $71 in total. Room and board costs for resident and nonresident students will increase by 4.6%. Finally, the total cost of tuition for out-of-state students will still rise by 2.9% at $32,835 yearly.
This summer, Virginia Tech began and continued multiple construction projects throughout the campus. Some buildings to be expanded or renovated include the new Creativity and Innovation District Living-Learning Community (CID LLC) residential hall and the 80-year-old mining and minerals engineering and materials science and engineering building Holden Hall.
Student wellness centers like War Memorial Hall, McComas Hall and Schiffert Medical Center are also being renovated in late 2019.
“This summer kicks off one of the most unprecedented periods of construction in the university’s history,” said Dwayne Pinkney, senior vice president for operations and administration, to VT News. “These projects will not only transform the visual campus landscape, but deliver necessary upgrades to infrastructure, expand housing and wellness opportunities, and fuel interdisciplinary research and collaboration.”