Tuition to remain unchanged if classes remain online in fall: Board of Trustees chair

Media Credit: File Photo by Donna Armstrong | Senior Staff Photographer

Speights said the Board delayed the passage of the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, until trustees can discern a "clearer picture" of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights said the Board does not plan to change next year’s tuition from the previously chosen rate if classes remain online in the fall.

The Board voted in February to set tuition to $58,550 next year – an annual increase of 3 percent – for incoming students as GW phases out its fixed tuition policy. Speights said she expects the approved tuition rate for the next academic year to stand, even if students take classes online or in a hybrid scenario.

“Our aim is to provide a world-class education for students whatever the classes look like once in the fall, whether it’s on campus or whether it’s online, so I don’t anticipate any reduction in the tuition,” she said.

A parent sued the University earlier this month for a partial refund of tuition, fees and room and board payments for the spring semester in light of the transition to online classes in March. Officials have provided refunds of lost housing, dining and parking costs on a prorated basis.

University President Thomas LeBlanc said earlier this month that students returning to in-person instruction as scheduled in the fall is an “optimistic scenario,” and officials are actively developing contingency plans for hybrid or remote instruction.

Speights said the Board delayed the passage of the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, until trustees can discern a “clearer picture” of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID has definitely impacted GW just like every college and university, and it has and it will continue to have a significant impact on GW finances,” she said. “We are still not sure how much of an impact that will be.”

Officials’ scenarios for the next academic year project an annual loss of between $100 million and $300 million, depending on when students return to campus.

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