Tuition and fees for the academic year 2020-21

Tuition and fees are the financial costs that students pay to attend the university. Tuition and fees typically make up over two-thirds of the instructional budget. The formal name of this instructional budget is the Educational and General (E&G) Programs Budget. They help cover the costs of many aspects of life at Virginia Commonwealth University that directly affect the success of students: paying professors, providing student support services, maintaining buildings, ensuring safety and security, and many more.

Undergraduate tuition

The tuition rate represents a 0 percent increase for both in-state and out-of-state undergraduates. Tuition amount is based on per-credit charges for 15 credits for both fall and spring semesters.

  • In-state undergraduate tuition: $12,094
  • Out-of-state undergraduate tuition: $32,742

Graduate and first-professional tuition

The tuition rates for master's, doctoral and first-professional programs are outlined in the 2020-21 Tuition and Fees document found on

Mandatory fees

Mandatory fees are required for all full- and part-time students on both campuses. Full-time students pay a flat rate. Part-time students pay a per-credit-hour rate. Refer to the "What it covers" page of this site for details about these fees.

Table: Mandatory Student Fees

Mandatory student fees2020-21
University fee$2,137.00
University strategic initiatives and contingency$162.00 
Parking and Transportation$94.00 
Student union and recreational sports$646.00 
Students services$315.00 
Technology fee$85.00
Library fee$80.00
Health service fee$224.00
Student activity fee$90.00
Total mandatory fees (resident)$2,616.00
Capital outlay fee (nonresident only)$690.00
Total mandatory fees (nonresident) $3,306.00

For a listing of the distribution of Student Activity fees, refer to the Distribution of Student Activity Fees FY 2019. The 2020-21 report will be available later in the summer of 2020.

Housing, dining and parking rates

The rates for housing dining and parking fees will increase for the 2020-21 year as outlined below. Refer to each website for specific plans and associated rates.
  • Housing rates reflect an increase approximately 4 percent due to proposed salary and benefit increases, utilities and contract cost increases. Visit for a list of halls and associated rates.
  • Dining rates reflect an increase of 4.97 percent as required to support the contractual Consumer Price Index increase of 2.65 percent and to continue to improve customer service and enhance the dining program. Visit for a list of plans and associated rates.
  • Parking rates parking rates will increase by an average of 2.5 percent for students and employees. Visit for a list of rates.

New structure: More predictable and lower cost fees

The ongoing university initiative to improve student financial services has been an important element in promoting student access and success. As a part of these improvements, the Office of Strategic Enrollment Management has developed a new structure for the numerous fees associated with individual undergraduate courses. This new structure will consolidate the highly varied course fees into a single program fee based on undergraduate student major. This new fee structure will be implemented for Fall 2020 and is anticipated to provide students and their families with much more predictable and lower cost fees across semesters.

Approval process for setting tuition

Traditionally, the final part of the university's budget process for the upcoming academic year begins when the governor announces the budget in December, and it continues into January when the Virginia General Assembly convenes. It's not until later in the spring, typically, when the final budget for the commonwealth is approved that final allocations for institutions are known. While the budget for the commonwealth was approved, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy has left some uncertainty. In consideration of the evolving guidance provided by state and federal government, VCU and its Board of Visitors have taken the unusual step of adopting the FY 2020-21 budget in two phases: review and approve tuition and fees at its May meeting and then will reconvene in June to vote on the full budget for 2020-21.

Three university committees provide input to the budget process: the University Budget Advisory Committee, the Student Budget Advisory Committee and the Budget and Strategic Planning Committee. In February/March of each year, the vice president for budget and finance presents the budget workshops to students and the VCU Board of Visitors. This year, the BOV held an online open comment period (April 7-24) as part of this process to hear feedback from students and the public.

How does VCU compare with other schools?

VCU is a major research university with several high-cost programs, such as engineering, arts, medicine and biology (the university's largest major); its tuition is commensurate with that of other Tier III doctoral research institutions. The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia provides a tool for you to compare VCU's in-state and out-of-state tuition and mandatory fees with other state schools in Virginia. Access the tool through SCHEV's website.

2020-21 tuition and fees

Base tuition and fees for undergraduate students:

$14,710 in-state

$36,048 out-of-state


How does VCU compare?

The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia provides a tool for you to compare VCU’s in-state and out-of-state tuition and mandatory fees with other state schools. Access the tool through SCHEV’s website.