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UVM Announces Plan To Freeze Tuition Rates Next Year

Liam Elder-Connors
UVM announced a plan Thursday to freeze tuition next year. The board of trustees will officially set the rates in the spring.

The University of Vermont plans to freeze tuition rates next year. The college says the last time it did this was more than 40 years ago.

"This is a historic initiative," said UVM President Suresh Garimella at a press conference Thursday morning. "It's a big challenge. We're all here together — it'll take the village to make this happen."

Undergraduate tuition at UVM for an in-state student is $16,392; for an out-of-state student, it's $41,280. The freeze would apply to in-state and out-of-student rates, as well as to undergraduate and graduate students.

Declining enrollment is threatening many colleges in the region and has led several smaller Vermont schools to close this year.

UVM President Suresh Garimella speaks at a press conference.
Credit Liam Elder-Connors / VPR
UVM President Suresh Garimella announced a tuition freeze on Thursday. He took on the top job at UVM in July.

Garimella, who took over as UVM president in July, said he is concerned about rising student debt — but he also said this tuition freeze is not in response to a crisis.

"UVM's actually in good shape, you should all know this," he said. "Its financials are strong, its quality is strong, we have a great alumni base, so we're doing it at a time that things are in good shape."

Not raising tuition will create a $7 million to $8 million budget gap, so Garimella said UVM will find new revenue in areas like partnerships with private industries and improved student retention.

According to Garmiella, staff layoffs aren't part of the plan.

"It's not like we're going into this saying that we will, you know, slash a bunch of jobs or something," Garimella said. "That is absolutely not in the mix."

The board of trustees will officially set the tuition rate in the spring.

When asked by a reporter Thursday about plans to hold tuition rates steady beyond next year, Garimella responded with a quip: "Celebrate what I'm doing today man, come on," he said to laughs, before turning more serious.

"We're making a bold commitment today, it is for next year — let's see how it goes," Garimella continued. "I'm quite confident we’ll succeed."

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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