Frequently asked questions

Q: What does E&G mean?

A: E&G stands for Education and General Programs Budget. The E&G budget funds the majority of school costs including instructional and student support as well as funding much of the required central functions such as the library, student accounting, IT, safety and security, etc. Some funds within E&G are also set aside for financial aid.

Q: What are the Tier III schools and what does that mean?

A: Virginia has classified all of its colleges and universities into three tiers. The highest level, Tier III, was granted to only five schools: College of William and Mary, James Madison University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and VCU. This select status allows these schools more flexibility in managing their operations to implement best practices and streamline processes. Examples of how VCU has exercised this status include: the new HR system that went into effect January of this year; the new budget system that went into full effect FY 2019; and a new procurement system that is launching this year.

Q: What’s the difference between tuition and fees?

A: Tuition dollars support the university’s instructional programs and their related support services, such as salaries and wages of faculty and staff and support costs for educational facilities. Tuition is determined by the student’s residency status, the number of credit hours for which the student is registered, the student’s program of study and the student’s classification level. In addition to tuition, the university relays various fees to students to help support university-related costs, such as campus and cultural events and activities, health care for students, recreational facilities, library and technology initiatives. Students majoring in specialized programs, such as arts, business or health sciences, will see additional fees on their bills. These fees help support special courses and programs associated with their major. For a full description of each fee, universitywide or major-specific, visit the Student Accounting website.

Q: What credit cards are accepted for payment of tuition and fees?

A: The Student Billing and Payment website links to the credit card processor, PayPath, to process Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover Card payments. If you choose to use a credit card to pay your bill, you will be assessed a convenience fee by PayPath of 2.85 percent of the payment amount (a minimum of $3) each time you make a payment. This convenience fee is nonrefundable.

Q: What is included on my bill from Student Accounting? What is not?

A: The eStatement you receive from Student Accounting will include charges for your tuition, mandatory fees, program fees, special fees, housing and dining. The eStatement does not include parking fees, charges for books and supplies or current library fines. Deposits for your VCUCard cannot be paid with your Student Accounting bill. The eStatement also should include credits for deposits, scholarships, grants and loans offered on your financial aid package. Questions concerning your financial aid award amounts should be referred to the Student Financial Management Center.

Q: Do I have to pay the activity and/or university fee if I do not use any of the facilities?

A: Yes. These fees are mandatory. The activity fee supports activities scheduled throughout the academic year such as concerts, plays, student organizations and publications. The university fee is used by the university to support Recreational Sports facilities, the University Student Commons, campus development, intercollegiate athletics and other programs.

Q: Do tuition dollars fund land acquisition?

A: The needs addressed in the FY 2019-20 budget plan do not include funding for any new acquisitions. There are funds set aside for capital projects, and the university often depends on state funding for new academic buildings. All property purchases are carefully evaluated and planned to maximize the facilities available to students.

Q: How much is the increase for parking? Why increase parking rates?

A: Virginia requires that VCU auxiliary functions such as parking be self-supporting, including a requirement that units fund all repairs and capital improvements to facilities. Per BOV approval, parking rates will increase by an average of 2.5 percent for students and employees. For employees, this rate translates to an additional $2 per month for standard permits and $5 per semester for adjunct permits. Students can expect an additional $6 per semester for commuter permits and $10 per semester for 6-month housing permits. The increase supports deferred maintenance/capital renewal needs, rising operational costs and sustaining transportation services. Refer to the VCU Parking and Transportation website for more details.

Q: How will the capital campaign impact the availability of financial assistance?

A: The Make It Real Campaign for VCU is the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university's history. The campaign goal is $750 million, much of which will be instrumental in creating new scholarships for students.

Q: How is VCU President Michael Rao advocating for students at the state level?

A: President Rao is working with state officials to gain recognition for VCU educating the most Virginia students and among the neediest of Virginia students, and advocating for increased funds for student financial aid. In addition, he is advocating for support for VCU’s underfunded faculty.

Q: What is the role of the SBAC?

A: The Student Budget Advisory Committee was established in 2016 to increase student involvement in the budget planning process. The committee meets throughout the year with the goal of both educating committee members about the VCU budget and gaining their input. This committee is in addition to the student representatives that serve as non-voting members to the VCU Board of Visitors.

Q: When will I find out if tuition will go up again?

A: The VCU Board of Visitors typically reviews and approves the budget during April and May of each year. The BOV and the university's administration will always inform VCU students and families of any pending increases in tuition and fees as soon as that information is available. The best way to stay informed is to regularly check your VCU email account for important messages from leadership, read the VCU TelegRAM and check this website.

Get more answers

Visit the following sites to find out more details about billing, payments and student aid: