Changes approved by Board of Trustees along with tuition rates for 2018-19.
The Board of Trustees on Friday voted to approve new tuition rates for 2018-19 that include modifications to the university’s undergraduate dining plans and a change to the voluntary library gift in response to student feedback.
Beginning fall 2018, the university will offer two dining plans based on undergraduate students’ residence hall assignments. Living assignments without a kitchen will include a $4,600-per-year dining plan while those with a kitchen will include a $2,800-per-year dining plan.
Currently, the university offers four dining plans that are assigned by undergraduates’ class years, with dining cash amounts decreasing as students advance from their first to fourth years.
However, some students and parents have expressed concern that this structure does not provide sufficient funds to last the entire academic year. The new approach aims to more directly link students’ needs for dining funds by taking into account living arrangements, regardless of class year. It also increases by $500 per year the dining plan assigned to students living in a residence hall without an in-unit kitchen, which primarily applies to freshmen. Additionally, because the new dining plans are intended to be more reflective of students’ total food costs, the approach will both assist families in planning for educational expenses and increase transparency in the university’s cost of attendance. As a result of this change, the university will commit additional resources to financial aid to ensure that financial aid packages will increase in line with the change in the cost of attendance.
GW President Thomas LeBlanc said the change is intended to improve the undergraduate student experience.
“I have heard consistently from students that our dining plans often do not provide enough dining cash,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “We hope that this new approach will better serve our students, and we will continue to monitor feedback to ensure that it does.”
Other aspects of GW’s open dining program, including the flexibility to use dining cash at any of the more than 100 GWorld restaurant or grocery store partners and ability to roll over any unused funds to the next academic year, will remain unchanged.
The university also continues to expand access to affordable choices through initiatives designed to grow the Meal Deal program and the planned introduction of an all-you-care-to-eat concept at the Mount Vernon Campus. Details of the all-you-care-to-eat concept at Mount Vernon will be shared once the university completes reviewing proposals from vendors interested in operating the two dining venues on the campus.
Beginning in fall 2018, the voluntary library gift, which has appeared on student account bills automatically each semester and required students to “opt-out” will now be an option for which students can “opt-in” as they pay their tuition bills each semester. The library gift option will appear as a check box separate and distinct from any charges for tuition, room, board and other educational expenses that may appear on a bill. This change is in response to student feedback and will provide more clarity on student account bills as students manage their educational expenses.
Also Friday, for the 11th year in a row, the Board of Trustees voted to continue to contain GW’s cost of attendance, guaranteeing no tuition increase for returning undergraduate students for the 2018-19 academic year and limiting increases for incoming undergraduate students to approximately 3 percent.
Tuition for incoming undergraduate students in fall 2018 will be locked in at $55,140 annually for up to five years, as long as they remain in good academic standing. Underscoring the university’s commitment to containing costs, the percent increase compared to last year is 3.2 percent for tuition and fees and about 3.9 percent for the total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room and board), depending on a student’s housing selection.
The board also approved 2018-19 graduate tuition rates, which vary by program and will be posted online in March.