UVA disputes characterization of school's 'slush fund'

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The University of Virginia is disputing allegations that it sat on reserve funds for years as it raised tuition.

Former Rector Helen E. Dragas last week characterized a $2.3 billion fund as a "slush fund" in an opinion column in The Washington Post.

In response, the university said in a statement Tuesday that the "Strategic Investment Fund," is not connected with tuition or public funding. Officials said the money came primarily from additional returns on the university's $7.5 billion endowment since 2009.

Officials said as much as $100 million from the fund could be invested each year to pay for improvements.

President Teresa A. Sullivan says the fund could be used to support the medical center without needing to make up for those costs by increasing tuition.

Dragas stepped down from the board last month.

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