UVM President unveils plan to freeze tuition


Sawyer Loftus/Vermont Cynic

President Suresh Garimella addresses assembled media at a press conference, Nov. 14.

UVM President Suresh Garimella said he plans to push the board of trustees to approve a tuition freeze for the 2020-21 school year. 

This would be the first move of its kind in 40 years of UVM history, Garimella said at a Nov. 14 press conference. 

The freeze would leave UVM’s tuition sticker price as it is right now. Costs would remain at $41,280 for out-of-state students and $16,392 for in-state students.

“Our most sacred obligation is to ensure the success of our students, and that starts with access and affordability,” Garimella said. 

The University has kept tuition increases at modest levels in recent years, Garimella said. 

From 1998 to 2018, the in-state tuition price has risen 135.27% while the price of out-of-state tuition has increased 447.32%. 

Garimella said that constant tuition increases are not a sustainable financial model for UVM.

Garimella and others inside the administration will continue to work on the plan that will be presented to the trustees in May. 

Each May, the board of trustees approves the following year’s tuition cost. 

In order to achieve this freeze, UVM will have to seek out sources of revenue to continue its growth. 

Part of that will be looking to private and commercial industry for resources, Garimella said. 

However, Garimella said students shouldn’t worry about the influence these kinds of groups would bring. 

“The only interest I have are campus interests,” he said. “The only interests I have are that of student success. Everything we do will be filtered through the lens of what is good for our students. And you can take that to the bank.” 

Garimella said that his plan will not include any foreseeable layoffs. 

Additionally, Garimella doesn’t anticipate any cuts to classes or increasing class sizes as a result of the freeze, he said. 

But ultimately, the decision to alter class sizes and offerings will be left to the deans of each college, Garimella said. 

“I’m not going to mess with the quality of education,” he said. “I’m not going to dictate anything to our deans. But if there’s any compromise to quality [of education], I’ll have lost.” 

SGA President Jillian Scannell, a senior, said she is pleased to see a proposal to freeze tuition, though it won’t go into effect until after she graduates. 

“I’m over the moon,” she said. “I think this is huge for students. This is going to help students past me, so it’s okay. I’ll get by.”

Vermont has the most expensive in-state and out-of-state tuition costs in the country, according to the College Board. 

The plan will need to be approved by the board of trustees in May 2020.