Endowments for public education typically consist of land and livestock.

The General Assembly appropriates $15,000 ($261,926 in 2008 dollars*) for what would become the University of Virginia.

The Assembly loans $60,000 ($1.3 million in 2008 dollars) to complete construction of the Rotunda and Lawn.

The Assembly approves $180,000 ($4.1 million in 2008 dollars) to pay for UVA construction debts.

The University of Virginia opens to serve its first 123 students.

The overall annual cost of a year at UVA is about $332 ($9,752 in 2008 dollars).

A fee system for professors is abandoned in favor of a flat salary of $3,000 ($85,325 in 2008 dollars).

The University keeps its doors open throughout the Civil War, despite shortages of food and fuel. With the decline of Confederate currency, professors receive a wage equivalent to $31.95 in gold.

The end of the Civil War leaves the Old Dominion $45 million in debt ($614 million in 2008 dollars).

The University Chapel

The UVA Chapel is built with $30,000 ($732,323 in 2008 dollars) in private funds.

Edwin Alderman

UVA President Edwin Alderman starts a fundraising campaign that includes industrialist Andrew Carnegie and a Rockefeller family foundation. The goal is $1 million ($24.9 million in 2008 dollars).

The General Assembly raises the annual allotment to UVA to $100,000 ($2.2 million in 2008 dollars).

Professors seek a wage increase of 40 percent to restore salaries to 1913 levels (inflation after World War I had decreased buying power). A full professor’s salary was $4,500 ($56,559 in 2008 dollars).

Profits from football total $49,000 ($615,870 in 2008 dollars) and are used to subsidize other sports.

President Alderman’s service ends. The student body has multiplied by four; the faculty, by five. The endowment has increased from $350,000 to $10 million ($125.7 million in 2008 dollars).

A stock market crash during a period of declining real estate values begins a chain of events that leads to the Great Depression.

The state budget is cut to avoid a deficit, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in UVA’s appropriation.

Administrative and teaching staff take a 20 percent reduction in pay, but throughout the Depression no faculty member fails to receive a paycheck.

Enrollment drops only slightly. “[UVA President John Lloyd] Newcomb’s great administrative ability, his intimate knowledge of the University’s financial structure and the ramifications thereof, made it possible for the institution to weather the storm with less disruption than most,” writes historian Virginius Dabney.

Dean Ivey Lewis says that UVA students are “working harder and behaving better than at any time I’ve been connected with the University.” Failure rates fall.

The national unemployment rate peaks at 24 percent.

Alderman Library

The Public Works Administration builds Alderman Library to provide employment.

Tuition and required fees for an in-state student total $484 ($2,683 in 2008 dollars).

A commission lists Virginia as a state that fails to sufficiently fund universities and colleges.

The UVA endowment passes the $100 million mark ($531.5 million in 2008 dollars).

Average compensation for faculty is $21,369 ($103,505 in 2008 dollars).

UVA’s academic division receives 37 percent of its funding ($62.4 million, or $163 million in 2008 dollars) from the state.

President John T. Casteen III
Faced with recession, state officials cut higher education budgets by more than $400 million ($632 million in 2008 dollars). UVA’s funding is cut by 17 percent, or $46 million ($72.6 million in 2008 dollars). “State support for the University dropped from approximately 28 percent of our revenues, which it had been for a generation, to about 12 percent,” President John T. Casteen III recalls in a 2002 speech.

The endowment reaches $2,371,245,000 ($2.9 billion in 2008 dollars).

Due to decreased state support, UVA becomes the first public university in the nation to receive more of its funding from private sources than from the state.

UVA announces the AccessUVa program, which guarantees that the University will meet 100 percent of a student’s demonstrated need.

The General Assembly approves a charter making UVA and other state universities more financially autonomous and less dependent on state funding.

Tuition and required fees for an in-state student total $9,300.

With an endowment at $5.1 billion and 21,057 full-time students, UVA has a per capita endowment of $242,000 per student (the largest of any public university in the nation).

The overall operating budget of UVA is $2.2 billion (8.2 percent provided by the state).

The University ends the year seeing the value of investments in the endowment’s long-term pool down 26 percent from July.

On the heels of state budget reductions of $9.2 million in 2007 and $10.6 million in 2008, the Assembly cuts UVA funding by an additional $12.1 million.

The average compensation for faculty is $128,980.

In February, the national unemployment rate reaches 8.5 percent, a 25-year high.

UVA anticipates receiving $10.7 million, plus the same amount in 2010, through a federal stimulus program.

Special Report: The University and the Economy

This article appeared as part of a larger section on how the recent economic turmoil is affecting UVA and its alumni. Read more:

  • On the Front Lines
    Alumni and faculty experts share their perspectives on how we got into this situation—and how to get out of it.
  • Time and Money
    A timeline tracks how the University has weathered economic ups and downs throughout the years.
  • In the Classroom
    As economic events unfolded, some professors threw away their syllabi and kept pace with breaking news.
  • Students Speak
    Learn how some students are coping with the economy—with video.
  • Your Financial Health
    Assess your personal finances with a quiz from McIntire professor Karin Bonding.
  • A Different World
    A first-person perspective on how Circuit City’s collapse altered the career path of one alumnus.