UVM is a valuable asset to Vermont

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As the University of Vermont celebrates its 225th anniversary this academic year with the recent launch of a historic comprehensive campaign, all Vermonters can be proud of our flagship, public research University.

What does the University of Vermont provide Vermonters?

With over 100 undergraduate majors, 50 master's degrees, and 24 doctoral programs, including 332 fully online courses, we in Vermont, the country's second smallest state, are fortunate to have such a diverse and broad range of on-campus educational opportunities and 12 Extension offices with outreach programs throughout the state.

Vermonters have benefited greatly from UVM's high quality and soaring reputation in the last several years as demonstrated by news headlines as "Best Bang for the Buck," "UVM Rising Star," "Among the Ten Best Places to Go to College," and "A Leader in Social Responsibility and Public Service" in addition to its perennial inclusion in the US News list of the 50 best public universities in America.

Vermonters excel at UVM. With a four-year graduation rate nearly twice the national average for peer public research universities, and a survey reporting a 91 percent success rate for employment or graduate education enrollment within six months of graduation, students who attend the University perform at the highest levels and are well positioned upon graduation for future success.

What does the University of Vermont do for Vermont?

Throughout our shared history, the State of Vermont and UVM have been inextricably linked. UVM retains and graduates students at record rates and more than 31,000 UVM alums live and work in Vermont, with annual earnings of approximately $1.6 billion. UVM and University of Vermont Medical Center, are fundamental drivers of economic innovation, employment, and sustainability for the State.

Vermont faces significant demographic challenges, and the University serves as a magnet for young people to come to Vermont to study, contribute to our economy and communities, and graduate. Thousands, including me, stay here to raise families, have careers and become active citizens.

Beyond the educational, research, and cultural advantages that UVM provides, the State's return on investment is $25 for every $1 of Legislative appropriation, resulting annually in an estimated $1 billion direct and indirect return in the State.

The University of Vermont needs and deserves our support, from the public sector.

Vermont ranks perennially near the bottom in higher education funding. Even so, this modest state support for UVM is critical in the efforts to recruit and graduate talented Vermont students, and to further the research and land grant missions. At UVM, half of our state funding supports the College of Medicine, the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, and UVM Extension, representing only around 3 percent of the operating budget. The remaining allocation supports Vermont students through scholarships and financial aid. Consequently, together with private donations, nearly 90 percent of University of Vermont students benefit beyond the in-state tuition level that is already 60 percent lower that the out of state rate. Last year, for example, 46 percent of Vermont students attended UVM tuition free.

For Vermont to thrive, investments in higher education must continue and grow for its flagship to attain an even greater level of quality and value as a leading land grant research University. Standing still is a recipe for stagnation and decline.

Fundraising success is an increasingly important part of UVM's financial picture, expanding the margin of excellence that has allowed the University to excel despite an environment of limited State support.

The University's comprehensive fundraising campaign will enrich, transform, and promote even greater quality that will benefit all Vermonters. This is a critical moment in UVM's history — a moment where alumni and committed supporters will step up to invest in the expansion of opportunities for even greater quality. The Campaign for the University of Vermont embraces a culture of excellence and the values it supports for research, academic success, and learning and discovery beyond the classroom.

As a proud UVM alumna, I hope that all Vermonters will understand and appreciate the value of our land grant, comprehensive research University. We all benefit when UVM succeeds.

Karen N. Meyer is a UVM Alumna, Member of the UVM Foundation Board of Directors, and Member of the UVM Executive Campaign Council. She is a resident of Colchester, Vt.


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