January 30, 2016

President Sullivan Appeals for Funds

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Montpelier, Jan. 27—UVM president Tom Sullivan presented to the Vermont Senate Education Committee at the statehouse on Wednesday, requesting an increase to next fiscal year’s appropriations from the state government. This was one of three presentations the President gave to the legislature that day.

Sullivan emphasized the new STEM complex, which is the highest-cost building project UVM has ever undertaken. He stressed that the complex will benefit the state as well as the university, saying “I think every one” of the construction workers associated with the project is a Vermont native, and that UVM “could be seen as Vermont’s biggest engine for economic development.” This claim stems from UVM’s status as a “talent magnet” for out-of-state students and researchers, as well as the University’s status as the state’s largest employer*.

The president’s most interesting tidbit was a bid to lower out-of-state tuition. He discussed the 40% rule, which states that in-state tuition cannot exceed 40% of the out-of-state rate. This rule is far from common, and Sullivan promised the repeal would be used to lower out-of-state and not to raise in-state, as UVM has done with graduate tuition. “I can guarantee you it will not affect Vermonter tuition or enrollment”, he stated confidently.

Committee concerns included the percentage of alumni who remain in-state after graduation—44% overall, 64% for native Vermonters—and but overall senators were receptive to Sullivan’s reasoning. Senator Philip Baruth cautioned that Sullivan was “preaching to the choir”, as all budgeting decisions are the domain of the Appropriations Committee, which will discuss fiscal year 2016 adjustments starting Tuesday.

*Combined University and Vermont Medical Center employees

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