Construction projects will not raise price of tuition

With the many construction projects beginning this summer, some students wonder whether tuition will increase as a result.

It won’t, Richard Cate, vice president for finance said.

“That’s a good idea, if they are not increasing tuition,” sophomore Blaze Vogliano said. 

The STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics complex — is going to cost approximately $104 million. Twenty-five percent will be privately funded and the rest will be paid through the general fund, Cate said. “What we have to do is figure out how to fit the mortgage in the budget we have. Basically we call it debt service, but it’s the mortgage,” Cate said. This “mortgage” will last for 35 years and come out of the $625 million annual general fund budget, he said.

“It’s always interesting to think about how this plays out in terms of tuition,” Cate said. “So the general fund will pay for 75 percent of the project, but if we think about undergraduate tuition, 56 percent of that budget is supported by undergraduate tuition.”

“So it’s 56 percent of 75 percent, so it’s more like something in the neighborhood of 40 percent of that project will be supported by tuition, is kind of the way the math goes.” The new dorm that will be built on central campus is using a different payment model.

“It will be privately owned, so the University won’t be spending any money on it,” Cate said. “The way it works is that students pay the rent, as they would with any residence hall on campus, [and] that money will go to the private party,” he said. Similar to the Redstone Lofts and Redstone Apartments, this project will house first-years rather than upperclassmen, he said.

“We’re living off-campus next year so we’re paying some private owner,” sophomore Carly Martin said. “It’s no different than juniors and seniors paying a private owner.” The Billings project will be almost entirely privately funded due to the reduction in plans. The Chiller Plant, which is connected to the Royall Tyler Theater, will be renovated through saved capital funds.

The Alumni House will be paid by the Foundation through a loan from UVM, Cate said. “The president’s number one priority for fundraising for the endowment is scholarship,” he said. Financial aid has continued to grow as a result of this priority.

“Well our financial aid begins to grow, at two to three times the rate of tuition increases,” Cate said.