University of Mary Washington students from Virginia will get a break from rising tuition costs next year.

UMW’s Board of Visitors voted unanimously Friday to freeze tuition for in-state students for the 2019–20 academic year, while approving a 2 percent increase for out-of-state students.

The move comes after years of annual tuition increases, with the total exceeding 25 percent just since 2014.

There will also be no increases in dining plans or UMW-owned residence hall rates. Students living in Eagle Landing or the William Street Apartments, which are owned by the UMW Foundation, will see housing cost increases of 2 and 5 percent, respectively, according to a press release issued by the university.

The increasing costs of serving students will primarily be met “through budget reductions and reallocations,” the release states.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly approved allocating $52.5 million to Virginia’s in-state public universities for “undergraduate affordability.” Of that, UMW will receive $957,000.

“It’s a big deal when a university announces a tuition freeze because tuition hikes have become so routine,” said Stacie Gordon, state advocacy manager for Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the cost and transparency of higher education.

“In offering public institutions over $50 million in new state funding to hold the line on tuition, Virginia lawmakers have created an opportunity to provide students with some much needed financial relief. By recognizing this opportunity and voting to freeze tuition, the University of Mary Washington has taken a step towards increasing college affordability for Virginia families.”

According to UMW’s release, university President Troy Paino sees controlling costs and ensuring access to higher education as “a fundamental responsibility of a public institution.”

The board also approved a $129 million budget for fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1. This includes a 3 percent raise for faculty and a 2.75 percent raise for classified staff.

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Adele Uphaus–Conner: 540/735-1973 auphaus@freelancestar.com @flsadele

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