Virginia Tech Board of Visitors sets next year’s university budget at $1.4 billion

vtech-logoThe Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a $1.4 billion university budget for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016) at its meeting on campus today.

Next year’s budget represents a $40.7 million increase over the current year budget. The growth in the budget is due in part to an increase of $32.4 million to the Educational and General program and $5.3 million of projected growth in auxiliary enterprises. It is projected that state share (General Fund) of the total university budget will be 17.8 percent.

The budget includes a 3.5 percent merit-based salary program for teaching and research faculty and a 2 percent merit-based salary program for administrative and professional faculty. Also reflected in the budget are the August 2015 salary adjustment programs for classified staff and university staff as authorized by the General Assembly.  These compensation programs are contingent upon achievement of the state revenue target.

On Sunday, board members and university leadership engaged in discussions centered on future undergraduate enrollment growth.

President Timothy D. Sands noted that demand for a Virginia Tech education has grown considerably; in particular for new interdisciplinary undergraduate degree programs launched recently such as real estate, water, neuroscience, and computational biology. He also noted that growth would provide greater access to both in-state residents and beyond and would increase the diversity of the student body.

Citing extraordinary demand for undergraduate slots and the success of the current year’s admissions process, Sands presented enrollment growth scenarios for board consideration. Continuing the current  program, which increased the first year undergraduate class by 500, would add 2,000 additional students by fall 2018.

The board will also look at other options that might grow undergraduate enrollment by another 2,000-3,000 students by 2022, for a total undergraduate enrollment of about 29,000 students.

On Monday, the board passed a resolution that would allow certain dependents of veterans’ eligibility for in-state tuition and fees, even if they are not Virginia residents. In passing this resolution, Virginia Tech now fully complies with tuition requirements of the federal Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.

A resolution to establish a new master of arts degree program in data analysis and applied statistics was also approved by the board. The demand for applied statistics education and training at the graduate level has grown considerably in recent years as “big data” in science, industry, and business requires employees with extensive statistical knowledge. Pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Virginia Tech will formally offer the new graduate degree program starting in the fall of 2016.

The board also approved two primary revisions in intellectual property policy to encourage innovation. One specifies instances when entrepreneurial students can pursue their ideas without the university claiming ownership, and the other says faculty members retain intellectual property rights if Virginia Tech itself does not wish to take action on the intellectual property.

A resolution to adopt a new Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Honor Code — one that is similar to the constitution of the Graduate Honor Code — was approved. The current Code of Student Conduct for veterinary students, which has been considered inadequate to effective DVM student governance, has been in place since 1980 and will be discontinued.

The board also approved faculty promotion, tenure, and continued appointments for 2015. The complete list of those individuals will be published June 3 in Virginia Tech News.

Five faculty members were honored with emeritus status and seven faculty members were appointed to endowed fellowships, professorships, or chairs. Individual stories on these individuals, as well as nine additional faculty members who were reappointed to endowed fellowships or professorships will be published in Virginia Tech News) beginning June 3.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held Aug. 30-31 in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.