Virginia Commonwealth University is considering “market-based tuition pricing” for next year that would charge for each credit hour rather than a set rate for a full-time student. Under state pressure to minimize tuition increases, VCU’s administration proposed a 4 percent increase in tuition and fees that would be augmented by the new approach to how students pay for classes.
The proposal would bring in additional revenue while changing the “behavioral dynamic” that results in some full-time students signing up for the maximum 18 credit hours — blocking others from enrolling in a needed course — and then dropping a class or two, said David W. Hanson, VCU’s chief operating officer and senior vice president.
Hanson presented pricing models and strategies during a board of visitors retreat held Sunday and Monday near Williamsburg. The board will vote on the proposal and tuition rates for the next academic year at its May 10 meeting.
Under the current block-pricing system, a full-time student can enroll in 12 to 18 credit hours per semester for the same charge. “A student does not necessarily pay for what he or she consumes in terms of credit hours,” Hanson said.
VCU this year charges $405.17 per credit hour, including fees, for part-time students.
Credit-hour pricing is projected to bring VCU an additional $31.2 million next year if put into effect for all students or $4 million if applied only to new students.
Old Dominion University and the community college system have long used per-credit-hour price structures.