The UVI Board of Trustees approved a tuition rate increase of five percent Saturday at its regular quarterly meeting, on the St. Thomas Campus.
The increase goes into effect this fall, according to university officials.
Full-time undergraduate resident students will see an increase of $221 per year, or $110.50 per semester. Full-time undergraduate non-resident students will experience an increase of $662 per semester. The tuition increase does not affect room or board rates, according to the university’s news release.
UVI President David Hall said the tuition increase was necessary to address deficit issues for this and the next fiscal year, maintain quality programs, and address other operating costs that continually go up.
UVI’s departments and components were asked to reduce their budgets this fiscal year as well.
“We are still, even with this increase, a very low-tuition institution,” Hall said in the release. He said UVI is still lower in cost than competing institutions of higher learning and that it has tried to make sure that any increase is moderate and that the financial aid UVI is providing to students is greater than what the university is charging.
The board also approved a change in the installment plan for the payment of tuition by permitting four installments per semester, effective this fall semester. The board voted to approve the elimination of all payments of interest related to the installment payment plan, and to replace the payment of interest with a one-time administrative fee of $45 for students who participate in the plan.
The board also approved five new academic degree programs. Three are undergraduate degrees: a bachelor’s in accounting; a bachelor’s in management and a bachelor’s in marketing. Previously, UVI’s School of Business offered an overall bachelor of arts for all business degrees, which had certain course requirements that required students to take a lot of courses outside of the business area, according to the school.
The two new graduate degree programs are a master’s in accounting and an executive master of business administration. The executive master of business administration differs from the traditional master of business administration in two major ways, according to UVI officials: First, it will target students who are currently employed in executive capacities in their organizations, but who lack graduate credentials. Second, the course offerings will not follow the traditional scheduling format, but will use a variety of formats that may include intensive weekend classes, study abroad for short periods, online meetings and seminars that will fit the schedules of busy executives.
“The way executive MBA’s are structured allows someone who is running a company to come and get their degree by having intensive programs on the weekends, etc.,” Hall said.
“It will not only provide that for Virgin Islanders, but executive MBA’s can attract individuals from all over the world. This is a major step forward for our School of Business,” he added.
In other action, the board unanimously approved a resolution to move forward with a contract for education-related services between the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica and UVI.
Many of the colleges within CCCJ offer courses at an entry or lower level, but lack advanced level courses, particularly in sociology. UVI has signed a memorandum of understanding by which UVI will provide CCCJ with its curriculum in upper level sociology and other courses.
UVI will monitor the faculty and conduct site visits. The program begins in fall 2016. The contract for education-related services will generate revenue for UVI, which gets $400 per student, per course for UVI programs delivered in Jamaica.
For students at Jamaica’s community colleges the agreement offers an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology or other academic areas from UVI, while staying on their home campus.
The Jamaica contract is in keeping with a new business model, Hall said, whereby UVI works with other colleges and universities – especially in the Caribbean – to enhance their academic offerings. Since fall 2015 UVI has been offering courses to students on the campus of the University of St. Martin.
“Right now we have no foothold in Jamaica. This will allow us to create that foothold,” Hall said.
During Saturday’s board meeting Hall gave the President’s Appreciation Award to Timothy Faley, distinguished professor in the School of Business, for spearheading the creation of brand new Innovation Centers on the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses.
“The White House has encouraged Historically Black Colleges and Universities to develop innovation centers in keeping with practices on most college campuses. We consulted with Howard University and other schools. Dr. Faley took the lead, pulled together a team, and found the ideal physical space, which are our libraries,” Hall said.
The Innovation Centers opened in January. Each center is equipped with computers, work tables, white boards and a 3-D printer classroom. Students are encouraged to use the centers to brainstorm and create projects in science, technology, entrepreneurship and math.
The board also approved:
– A revised Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget of $45.4 million in revenues and total expenditures and transfers of $45.3 million.
– A resolution to authorize a revised UVI Naming Policy that clarifies the obligations required by the University and the donor as well as identifying responsible parties for assessing appropriate naming opportunities.
– A resolution for a UVI Gift Acceptance Policy that ensure donations received by the university are consistent with its mission and vision, as well as adhering to higher education and IRS standards.
– A resolution for a revised Campaign for UVI Case Statement, which promotes and guides all activities pertaining to the Campaign for UVI initiative.
– A resolution for a Sub-recipient Monitoring Policy, which was developed to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, and the provisions of contracts or grant agreements.
– A motion that authorizes the president to use a portion of a $42,288 operating budget surplus for a print media campaign promoting UVI.
– An amendment to the UVI Bylaws in regard to the Audit Committee.
The next meeting of the UVI Board of Trustees is scheduled for June 4 on the St. Croix campus.