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Board of Visitors Revises Mason’s Ten Year Strategic Plan

THE PLAN PROMISES TO KEEP TUITION COSTS LOW WHILE INCREASING ENROLLMENTS BY 8,000

By Michael Eberhart, News Editor

Mason’s Board of Visitors met just before finals in December to update the school’s ten-year strategic plan, which began in 2014.

Part of the strategic plan includes keeping tuition “at or below the average of Virginia’s doctoral universities.” Mason’s current average tuition is $8,672 – an increase of $468 from 2017. The statewide average is $11,942, or 37.7 percent more than Mason.

As part of the plan, Mason’s enrollment is expected to reach 43,000 students by 2024 – an increase of more than 8,000 enrollments from the current year. According to President Ángel Cabrera, Mason’s total enrollment has already grown by 7,000 students during the last ten years.

Virginia’s own strategic plan for higher education calls for an additional 100,000 graduates across the state in the next decade, and Mason is expected to make up half of the total enrollment growth in that time according to Cabrera.

President Cabrera began the meeting by emphasizing his commitment to Mason DREAMers and preserving DACA status for the several hundred students affected by changes to federal immigration policy. This included signing a letter to Congress from the American Council on Education “urging swift action on DACA legislation,” and joining with other university presidents to found the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration Reform.

Cabrera also commended the Schar School for its partnership with the Washington Post’s coverage of special elections in 2017, including its polling that correctly predicted Doug Jones’s victory margin against Roy Moore in Alabama’s senate race.

President Cabrera then addressed the success of the ADVANCE partnership between Mason and Northern Virginia Community College, with the goal of directly enrolling 2,500 students in the streamlined transfer program over the next six years. The first students to enroll will begin going through the admissions process at Mason for this year’s fall semester as part of 15 different undergraduate programs.

President Cabrera said that the university’s ten-year partnership with the Wiley company to provide online graduate programs will begin this month with three masters programs in business, education and health, and two available certificates programs. Mason’s partnership with the Online Virginia Network also begins this spring semester with eleven undergraduate programs.

Another goal of the strategic plan is to increase the number of active learning classrooms – that incorporate technology like LCD displays and WiFi for individual students to participate and gain hands-on experience with the instructor – to 30 percent, up from 4.8 percent presently on campus. The board voted to close the existing BS program in athletic training and open a new masters of professional studies in applied organizational/industrial psychology program.

The Finance and Land Use committee also included an update from Chief of Police Carl Rowan Jr. that Mason police will be adding wearable body cameras and a new K9 to the force in 2018.

Photo by Nicolas Macotto