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James Madison University has redefined success. Based on its innovative curriculum and unwavering commitment to giving undergraduates access to the sort of world-class faculty and experiences that their peers elsewhere maybe experience in graduate programs, Madison students and graduates live productive AND meaningful lives, not just one or the other. That’s real success.

To assure that JMU continues to provide access to this particular sort of success, JMU’s Board of Visitors unanimously voted in November 2017 to increase annual tuition by $1,000 for new students (both in-state and out-of-state) arriving in the Fall of 2018 and then again by $1,000 on new students arriving in the Fall of 2019. Students already enrolled at JMU when each of these increases take effect will not be affected. In so doing, the university also made a pledge that will strengthen critical features of the Madison Experience while offering students and their families tuition predictability during their four years. The Madison Pledge also will allow the university to offer significantly increased financial aid to students and families. Out-of-state tuition for students arriving in Fall 2018 will be determined in April 2018. Historically, additional increases to out-of-state tuition have not exceeded 2-3 percent.

Fully defined, The Madison Pledge:

  • strengthens key elements of the Madison Experience that provide students access to success redefined because of our singular focus on preparing students to live productive AND meaningful lives, not one of the other.
  • commits to students and their families that tuition rates over the course of their Madison Experience will be predictable.
  • increases financial aid so that access to success redefined remains affordable.


Success Redefined 

The Madison Pledge will strengthen our ability to deliver value that transcends typical measures. Here’s how:  

Universities often tout their superiority by citing how much money their graduates earn. That’s important, to be sure, and our graduates earn a lot on average. But at James Madison University, we’ve redefined success by setting our mission to prepare students to live productive AND meaningful lives, not one or the other. And we’ve got plenty of evidence to show that we achieve our forward-looking mission, such as … 

JMU is consistently ranked among the top schools nationally for delivering a high return on tuition investment because alumni go on to successful careers. In fact, over 95 percent of JMU alumni in class of 2016 report being employed or engaged in a field related to their major or in graduate school within six months of graduating. That’s productive.

Meanwhile, a recent study by Gallup found that JMU alumni enjoy a greater sense of purpose and personal well-being than their peers who graduated from the top 100 schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report. That’s meaningful.  

Innovative curricular and co-curricular programs, access to world-class faculty and experiences for undergraduates in a challenging yet supportive culture contribute to such success. An average 4.12 years to graduate and 97 percent alumni satisfaction rate also attest that something special is happening at Madison.

Among a multitude of new initiatives, The Madison Pledge will strengthen the university’s ability to deliver on its singular mission by …

  • Hiring More Top Faculty for In-Demand Fields of Study
  • Increasing Career Planning Staff
  • Increasing Informational Technology Capacity


Predictable Tuition

Funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia to JMU has been reduced 8 out of the last 10 years. This is a widely-acknowledged situation with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) writing in its 2017-2018 Tuition and Fees Report, "Since entering the 21st century, tuition charges to in-state undergraduate students in Virginia have been greatly influenced by the state’s economic condition. The lack of continuity and predictability has limited the ability of students and their families to plan for the cost of college education."

Virginia sank to 44th lowest out of all 50 states for public support per student in higher education during the last 15 years. The same SCHEV report cited above also demonstrates that tuition increases at public universities in Virginia are in direct proportion to cuts in public funding for higher education. The Madison Pledge aims at insulating students and their families from the increasing unreliability of state funding.

So while The Madison Pledge does increase tuition, for the incoming class of freshmen for the next two years, it guarantees that tuition will not increase on current students by more than three percent each year as long as state funding remains relatively stable, The Madison Pledge allows students and their families to reliably predict their tuition bill while attending JMU.


Affordable Tuition

James Madison University always has been known for providing a superior education at a low price. In fact, out of Virginia’s 15 public colleges and universities, JMU ranks 10th lowest for total price.  Even though The Madison Pledge increases tuition for the incoming freshmen class for the next two years, JMU remains an incredible value. One of the central purposes of implementing The Madison Pledge is to increase financial aid: The Madison Pledge will sizably increase funds available for financial aid so that the Madison Experience is even more affordable for deserving students.

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