The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors supported the proposal on Wednesday. The UVa-Wise College Board endorsed the plan earlier this year. The Virginia General Assembly must amend state law to accommodate the plan.
The ARC region includes portions of 13 states, including all of West Virginia, from New York to Mississippi.
Current law allows UVa-Wise to grant reduced tuition to students who live in certain counties in Tennessee and Kentucky, within 50 air miles of the campus.
UVa-Wise officials said the expanded plan — which would essentially apply in-state tuition rates to residents of areas covered by the ARC — would increase educational opportunities, economic prosperity and diversity throughout the ARC region. If approved, the plan could also position the college for federal ARC funding.
“It is part of our mission to provide affordable access to higher education,” UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said in a press release. “Expanding our recruiting to the ARC region is also part of our mission, and students from those areas would feel comfortable at UVa-Wise. It would also enhance our market area within our region, which would offer increased recruitment potential.”
Sim Ewing, the college’s vice chancellor for finance and administration, said just 50 new students from the ARC region would bring in $1 million in tuition, fees, and room and board to the college on an annual basis. He said those 50 students could be expected to boost local retail coffers by $154,900 and $8,550 in local taxes annually.
Ewing said that over four years, those 50 ARC area students at UVa-Wise would create $4.6 million in economic impact on the college and the community, and there would be no additional state costs because the college currently has the capacity to accommodate those students.