The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved a $1.35 billion university budget for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015) during the June quarterly meeting held on campus today.

The university budget was among the resolutions passed during Timothy Sands’ first board meeting as university president. Today was his second official day on the job.

Next year’s budget represents a $39.3 million increase over the current year budget. The growth in the budget is due to increased costs in health care and retirement programs assigned by the General Assembly, operation and maintenance costs of new facilities, faculty and university staff merit programs, and strategic investments as may be made by the yet to be determined state budget process.

Additional factors affecting the overall university budget include increased energy costs, enhancements to student health services, growth in student programming, facility costs, and the campus-wide telecommunications improvements.

Because the state’s 2014-16 biennial budget has not yet been passed, the university budget was based on an estimate of state support. It is projected that state share (General Fund) of the total university budget will be 18.9 percent. 

Subsequent to this forecast, the state announced a revenue shortfall.

The budget includes a 2.75 percent merit program for faculty. Units will be asked to reallocate one half of one percent towards the faculty merit program. The 2014-15 budget also envisions a new 2.25 percent merit program for university staff.  Classified staff will be offered the opportunity to convert to University Staff to gain eligibility for the university staff merit program.

In addition to the overall university budget, the board passed tuition and fees for the upcoming year, approving increases of $562 and $837 respectively for resident and non-resident students. 

Mandatory tuition and fees for Virginia undergraduate students will be $12,017; out-of-state students will pay $28,048 annually.  Average room and board fees will rise by $274 per year for a total of $7,924. The total cost for a Virginia undergraduate living on campus will be $19,941 and a non-resident living on campus would be $35,972.

A comprehensive story on 2014-15 tuition and fees can be found on Virginia Tech News.

The board also approved resolutions on two new Bachelor of Science degree programs-- both of which further distinguish Virginia Tech as a leading university in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

To be administratively housed in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, the Bachelor of Science Degree in Water: Resources, Policy, and Management will offer students an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the rapidly emerging area of water, which connects society and environment through energy, food, climate, ecological, health, and economic systems.

The new Bachelor of Science Degree in Neuroscience program will be offered by the College of Science. The program will prepare students for interdisciplinary research and education, with employment in the private sector, employment in state and federal government agencies, and for post-baccalaureate training.

Pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Virginia Tech will formally offer these programs in 2015 academic year.

Virginia Tech News will have a complete story on the new neuroscience degree on Thursday, June 5, and a story on the water degree program on Friday, June 6.

The board also approved a resolution authorizing the university to demolish 48 buildings and other structures comprising the Dairy Science farm complex located near Southgate Drive and U.S. 460. Though the buildings will continued to be used for several more months until the Kentland Farm Phase I project is complete, they will ultimately be razed to make way for the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport runway expansion and the U.S. 460 Southgate Drive interchange projects both scheduled to begin in 2015.

Earlier in the day, the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee received reports on Career Services, Services for Students with Disabilities, and the Upper Quad Residence Hall Project.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee received an update on the U.S. 460 Interchange Project and a design preview for the Improve Kentland Facilities Project (Phase II).

The board also approved faculty promotion, tenure, and continued appointments for 2014. The complete list of those honored will be published Wednesday, June 4, in Virginia Tech News.

Two current faculty members were appointed to endowed professorship or fellowships. Stories on each of these individuals, as well as six others who were honored with emeritus status, will appear in Virginia Tech News beginning Thursday, June 5.

The next full Virginia Tech Board of Visitors meeting will be held Sept. 7 through 8, 2014, in Blacksburg. More information on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors may be found online.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.