VCU administration recommends no tuition increase for 2021-22

University leaders presented budget recommendations to the Board of Visitors on Wednesday, calling for a tuition freeze and a merit pay increase for faculty and staff

VCU logo outside of the University Commons building.
VCU senior leaders presented their budget recommendations for fiscal year 2021-22 to the Board of Visitors on Wednesday. (Allen Jones, University Marketing)

The Virginia Commonwealth University administration has recommended a zero percent tuition increase for undergraduate students for the third consecutive academic year, along with recommending no tuition increase for graduate students for the second time in three years.

VCU senior leaders presented their budget recommendations for fiscal year 2021-22 to the VCU Board of Visitors at a meeting today. Budget recommendations for students also include an increase of $153 in mandatory fees. This includes eliminating the online fee and increasing the technology fee by a net $35. This investment will be applied to more robust technology for learning, teaching and greater access to hardware and software. It also includes increases to the university and health services fees.

Under the plan, typical in-state undergraduate students enrolled in 15 credits per semester would pay $15,028 in tuition and mandatory fees in the 2021-22 academic year. Out-of-state undergraduate students’ tuition and mandatory fees would be set at $36,366.

“This has been a year unlike any other with numerous financial challenges directly related to the pandemic,” said Karol Kain Gray, senior vice president and chief financial officer for VCU. “Even so, the university remains financially stable and able to carry out its educational and research mission. We are very pleased that for the third year in a row, we recommend a zero percent undergraduate tuition increase. Under public notice requirements, we must provide a range of tuition increases. However, given the economic impact of the pandemic on our students and their families, as well as our focus on affordability and access, we have presented a budget that allows us to freeze undergraduate, graduate and first professional tuition.”

The proposed budget anticipates a 5% average merit pool increase for faculty and staff compensation. For adjunct faculty, the budget plan includes a 9% increase from $1,100 to $1,200 minimum per credit hour, which represents a 20% increase over the past four years. 

The third round of federal stimulus (HEERF III) funding signed into law in March has enabled VCU to allocate more than $28 million to student financial aid and another $28 million to offset lost revenues and expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are especially grateful to the General Assembly, whose proposed funding greatly advances VCU’s mission and strategic goals,” Gray said. “The budget bill submitted to the governor includes the largest proposed general fund award of $31 million, providing significant support for affordable access and operating funds, support for the salary increases; and it includes an additional $4.6 million increase in student financial aid.”

The Board of Visitors invites feedback on the proposed budget. The full proposed budget and the feedback form are available at The board will take final action on the university’s budget at its May 14 meeting.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and