NEWPORT NEWS — The lowest-percent tuition increase since 1999 was unanimously approved by Christopher Newport University's board of visitors Friday.
Undergraduates will pay 3.5 percent more for tuition, room and board— that's a $688 increase to $20,300 for in-state students and a $1,016 increase to $29,850 for out-of state students.
That will be the cost for most students, since all non-seniors are required to live on campus unless staying with a parent in Newport News, Hampton or parts of York County.
For those paying tuition and fees only, the cost will go up $488 to $10,602, a 4.8 percent increase.
Board member Gary Byler said that if asked how much this year's increase is, he'll stick to 3.5 percent because the residential rate "is the check most parents will write."
The approved increase is dramatically lower than the projected 14.3 percent tuition and fee hike for this fall in CNU's long-range plan.
President Paul Trible said he wanted to tamp down the increase in response to Gov. Bob McDonnell's recent request that state colleges do so.
CNU raised tuition 9 percent last year and 14.9 percent the year before. That doesn't include room and board.
To afford a lower increase this year, CNU is enrolling more freshmen — to date, 169 more than last year have confirmed attendance, for $3.4 million more in revenue.
Pushing total enrollment past 5,000 "will not change the culture of CNU" said Trible, who often says he wants the liberal-arts university to remain that size.
Fall enrollment is currently projected at 5,092, according to chief of staff Cindi Perry.
Trible said prospective students were told it would cost about $21,000 to attend this fall, and that CNU can now share the "good news that it will be $20,300."
This fall's freshman class includes about 1,400 students. Of that, 85 are out-of-state.
That number needs to increase if CNU wants to bring in more revenue and become more widely-known, board members said.
Finance committee chairman Mike Martin said a task force will form to explore ways to enroll more students from outside Virginia, such as offering financial incentives or travel discounts.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun