Friday, December 9, 2022

Tuition increase at Christopher Newport leaves many students feeling overwhelmed

(HNNDaily/Melanie Occhiuzzo )
(HNNDaily/Melanie Occhiuzzo )

The Christopher Newport University Board of Visitors earlier this year approved an 8 percent increase for tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 school year.

Thirty days prior to the meeting, the Board of Visitors released a statement saying there would be a possible 6- to 10-percent increase in tuition for the upcoming year.

In retaliation to the increase and apparently no subsequent direct notice from the university, representatives from the student body compiled a statement aimed at what they say was the university’s lack of transparency.

Breaking down the increase

The Board of Visitor’s meeting packet broke down the tuition increase.

According to the packet, “The State by its own formula should be providing $43.2 million for our Educational and General program but we are receiving only $29.1 million, a shortfall of $14.1 million.”

That explanation accounts for the increase of 8 percent which fell between the 6-10 percent projected increase.

By increasing the tuition, CNU will be able to generate $4.4 million which will fund the following necessary actions, according to the packet:

  • Library expansion ($721,292).
  • Mandated health care costs ($222,296).
  • Two additional faculty positions ($172,094).
  • 2 percent salary increase for faculty and staff ($1,011,389).
  • 3 percent wage increase for adjuncts ($65,000).
  • 9 positions, 7 of which are driven by federal and state requirement.

Statements and reactions

Students from organizations such as the College RepublicansTurning Point USAVirginia21, and College Democrats responded to the tuition increase with a statement to the university, calling for more transparency about what they considered to be a larger than average increase.

Colleen Simpson, chairwoman of College Republicans, drafted the statement but after conferring with representatives from the student body decided not to submit the statement directly to the university.

The group posted the statement online.

Because the university did not directly receive the statement, officials said they have no comment, but encouraged students to submit their comments and concerns to the president’s office.

Ryan Chriscoe, president of Turning Point USA’s CNU chapter, said while increases do happen, he is disappointed the university had elected to only tell a local newspaper and not release a statement to the parents and students of the university.

Matt Godsoe, president of Virginia21, echoed the sentiment.

“I feel like the 8-percent tuition increase is outrageous,” he said.

He thinks that although the university didn’t receive the funding it needed to operate, it shouldn’t have to fall entirely on the backs of the students to cover that loss.

The university hopes the state will renew its commitment to higher education and provide funding that will moderate tuition increases.
Moreover, raising private funds to provide scholarships for financial assistance is the university’s highest priority, said Tom Kramer, director of media relations at CNU.

Ashley McHenry, a senior directly affected by the increase, wants a statement from the university acknowledging the increase and saying that they’ll do what they can to help.

She found out about the increase from the statement released by the student body.

McHenry is in danger of not being able to return to CNU because of several factors, including the loss of financial aid, scholarship aid from CNU and the 8 percent tuition increase.

So far the university has only reflected the increase on its Tuition and Fees tab on its website and spoken to the local newspaper.

There are no plans to officially notify the parents and students of CNU about the tuition increase, Kramer said.

Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher is the managing editor-digital of WYDaily. A resident of Hampton Roads for more than two decades, he has worked for news organizations in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. He most recently was a member of the public relations staff for Virginia State Police.

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