Here’s what VCU tuition and fees are being used for during remote instruction

There aren't many pedestrians crossing Main Street near the University Student Commons on March 23, after VCU's transition to online learning. Photo by Georgia Geen

Katharine DeRosa, Staff Writer

Unsure what your money is being used for after the transition to online learning? We’ve broken it down for you. 

The breakdown of tuition and university fees are outlined on the Virtual VCU webpage. The following fees have not been refunded, and have instead supported the transition to online learning.


Tuition for Virginia residents was $12,904 per semester during the 2019-2020 school year and out-of-state tuition was $32,742 per semester.

The Division for Strategic Enrollment Management’s website states the university received around $676 million in tuition revenue for the school year.

Tuition is used in three ways: 

  • $512.7 million, or 76%, is spent on instruction and student support, which includes funding for courses, students and faculty, research, scholarships and public service
  • $103.8 million, or 15%, is spent on institutional support in IT, human resources, security, emergency savings and financial support for the university
  • $59.8 million, or 9%, is spent on building and grounds maintenance, utilities, lighting and recycling

The university fee and what it covers

The university fee, which was $2,305 per semester for all undergraduate students, funds the University Student Commons, recreational sports, academic advising, career services, University Student Counseling and student athlete services. VCU received more than $54.3 million from the university fee for this school year, according to the 2019-2020 budget.

The university fee pays for the salaries of University Student Commons workers, academic advisers, career center staff and university counseling staff.

  • University Student Commons: The University Student Commons, also supported by the university fee, is providing links to online activities and resources, such as books and printable crafts. The Commons is also hosting biweekly meetings for student workers and a virtual book club. The university fee also supports fraternities and sororities, which are engaging in virtual chapter meetings and organizing “senior send offs,” according to the Virtual VCU webpage. 
  • Student advising and career services: Academic advising is available to students through the Navigate app. This includes assistance with class registration, withdrawals and graduation applications for current students. Most appointments with VCU officials and advisors are held through Zoom, including career advising, meetings, financial counseling sessions, student support meetings and academic integrity meetings.
  • Counseling services: University Student Counseling provides virtual appointments over the phone and webcam from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For those with an after-hours emergency, call VCU Police at 804-828-1234 and ask to speak with a crisis clinician. The student counseling website has resources for coping with COVID-19.
  • Recreational sports: The university fee supports Rec Sports, which now offers daily virtual workouts from VCU staff and trainers from Les Mills and Lifetime Fitness. The workouts are held live and can be found on the VCU Rec Sports website. Daily activities range from typical offerings like core, cardio and fully body, to unique activities like “chair yoga,” a “gentle” practice of yoga that’s modified for those seated, according to the description. Rec Sports is also organizing video game tournaments. Registration for Super Smash Bros, FIFA, Rocket League and Call of Duty are still open with instructions online. Students can register for trivia nights via Zoom, with sports, movies and 2000s pop culture themes, on the VCU Rec Sports website.
  • VCU Athletics: The university fee also funds services for student athletes including academic and career advising, tutoring, sports counseling, athletic training and team meetings. The general student body receives free admission to sporting events with this portion of the university fee, according to the Virtual VCU webpage.

Library Fee

The library fee, which is $70 per semester for full-time students, is being used to maintain online library services. This includes the interlibrary request program that allows students to request online resources from other universities.

Students can chat or text librarians seven days a week with varying hours each day, and access online learning materials and Adobe Creative Cloud licenses. 

VCU Library due dates have been extended to Aug. 28 for all materials.

Learning Support Fee

The $45 per semester learning support fee is facilitating online Writing Center consultations and workshops. The campus learning center is tutoring, conducting SI sessions and foreign language conversation groups via Zoom, according to the Virtual VCU webpage.

Student Activity Fee

The student activity fee provides funds to student clubs and other organizations. Undergraduate students on Monroe Park campus pay $90 per semester, and undergraduate MCV students pay $36 per semester.

The student activity fee is continuing to fund salaries and wages for professional staff and student workers at the Student Media Center. This includes remote production for organizations including The Commonwealth Times, WVCW Radio and Ink Magazine.

The fee also pays the salaries of the president and the two vice-presidents of the Student Government Association, which is operating over Zoom.

The fee funds expenses for SGA, student clubs and organizations, and sports clubs.

Health Fee

The $224 per semester health fee supports televisits for medical advice and prescription refills in addition to open clinic hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University Student Health Center on Monroe Park Campus.

The fee supports televisits and health care for students on campus, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, walk-in immunization hours have been cancelled.

VCU received $5.3 million in student health fees this year, according to the 2019-2020 university budget.

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