University of Virginia should operate more like a private school, panel says

Thomas Jefferson helped to found the University of Virginia in 1819. Photo: Associated Press

The University of Virginia should largely separate from the Commonwealth's government and instead run itself more like a private school, a panel at the Charlottesville college has recommended.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that such a move would be difficult, but it would allow the university to more easily raise tuition and accept more prestigious students from around the country and the world.

On the other hand, the panel admits that such a move would force in-state students into a situation in which it'd be more difficult to gain admission to the school.

President Thomas Jefferson helped conceive and establish the University of Virginia in 1819 and is consistently ranked among the nation's top universities by U.S. News and World Report. More than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled at the school.

According to the university's financial services division, in-state tuition at the University of Virginia will cost between $6,200 and $8,800 per semester for Virginia residents. That number jumps to more than $20,000 per term for out-of-state students.

The Virginian-Pilot says that the commissions 11-page report says that permanent decreases in funding from both state and federal agencies is a driving force behind their recommendation.

State funding accounted for about 6 percent of the school's budget during the 2012-13 school year, officials say.