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Distance Learning
Distance Learning

OD: Strategic Tuition Assessment and Tuition Restructuring

Recorded on: Thursday, September 4, 2014 1:00 PM ET


After years of reductions in state funding, a tuition mix that is not diverse, a decade of in-state undergraduate growth, and a tuition rate that was low compared to other doctoral and comprehensive schools, the decision was made in 2011 at Virginia Commonwealth University to make a comprehensive assessment of the tuition base and options for restructuring. A determination was made that the incremental across-the-board tuition increases of the past would not serve the public research university serving 32,000 students going forward. The University hired Huron Consulting Group to assess the impact of several new pricing structure options to improve revenue while also improving student success.
Over the course of a year and numerous student focus groups and surveys, reviews of other institutional tuition structures around the country, and gaining direction from the Board of Visitors, VCU implemented a credit hour based tuition structure for incoming students in the Fall of 2013.
The implementation of this new structure was done in conjunction with significant investments in training for academic advisors, the launch of a campaign entitled “Do the Math” to publicize the need for students to take at least 15 credit hours each semester in order to graduate in 4 years (thereby reducing their overall cost of education and improving VCU’s 4-year graduation rate), and faculty to ensure bottleneck courses were available as needed. An “emergency” financial aid fund was also established for students who might fall short in funding the new tuition.


  • Examine this case study at VCU to align the resource needs of the institution with its strategic goals.
  • Gain a stronger understanding about the steps necessary to prepare an institution for a fundamental change in tuition structure – what components have to be in place to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Understand the team needed when considering a change in tuition structure – from the Provost’s Office to Finance to University Relations – a transformational change touches every area of the community, across the institution.
  • Learn the keys to driving change in higher education organizations including collaboration across campus, engaging students, finding external partners and establishing a culture of trust and transparency. 


  • Pamela Currey, associate vice president, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Luke Schulthesis, vice provost for strategic enrollment management, Virginia Commonwealth University 
  • Benjamin Kennedy, president, Kennedy & Company (formerly with Huron Consulting Group)
  • Natalie Pullaro Davis, manager, research and policy analysis, NACUBO


  • Chief Business Officers
  • Trustees
  • Presidents
  • Chief Academic Officers 
  • Controllers
  • Budget Directors
  • Vice Presidents of Finance
  • Other - anyone who wants to better understand change in higher education and resourcing higher education

Course Information

  • Length: 100 minutes


Member Site Registration: $189.00
Non-Member Site Registration: $219.00


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