Rare Book School

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Program Costs

The following information is provided to help prospective students estimate expenses involved in attending a one-week course. RBS attendees enroll for a single course in any given session/week (that is, they usually do not attempt to take back-to-back courses over a two week period; it is also not possible to take multiple courses in the same session). They generally arrive on either a Saturday or Sunday in time for dormitory or hotel check-in, and classes begin on Monday morning. Students make a full-time commitment to any course they attend, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Most students generally stay in residence over Friday night, partly to avoid the annoyances in Friday evening travel, but also to enjoy a final meal with new and old friends. Students coming from abroad or the West Coast usually find it convenient to arrive on Saturday and stay until the following Saturday or Sunday. More comprehensive information will be provided for admitted students in the RBS Travel & Housing Guide. Prospective RBS students are advised not to make travel or hotel reservations until they have been admitted to a course. An explanation of the admissions schedule may be found in the Application Procedures section of this website. For a tabular view of cost estimates, explore our sample budgets for courses in Charlottesville, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.


The tuition for RBS 2012 courses is $1095 with the exception of two courses; the tuition for History of the Book 200-2000 and Introduction to the Principles of Bibliographical Description is $1195 owing to the respective field trip and lab instruction expenses. Many RBS students, especially those without institutional support to help defray their expenses, struggle to pay the school’s tuition. High as this figure is, it represents only about 45% of the actual cost per student of running the school. If it were not for the generosity (1) of the University of Virginia (which provides free space, the salary of half the school’s full-time staff, and many other benefits) and (2) of the Friends of RBS, RBS could not exist either in its present form or at its present level of excellence. Tuition does not include preliminary course materials or travel and housing expenses (see below for more information about these costs).  Some full-tuition scholarships are available for Rare Book School courses.

Travel & Accommodations

In Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville is a city of about 40,000 persons, 110 miles south of Washington, DC, and 70 miles west of Richmond. The city’s major employers include the University of Virginia, several retirement communities (the quality of life is very pleasant), and the tourist industry (Monticello alone gets nearly half a million visitors a year). Charlottesville is the county seat of Albemarle County, a prosperous rural area dotted by scenic horse and other farms, many containing buildings of great beauty and architectural merit — though none more so than UVa itself. The town also boasts the largest number of used and antiquarian booksellers in Virginia. As a courtesy, Rare Book School publishes a guide to area booksellers, Antiquarian Bookhunting in Charlottesville. Feel free to download and print copies of your own (legal-sized paper required).

The majority of RBS activities take place in or near Alderman Library, located on the historic Central Grounds (main campus) of UVa. The RBS office is located in Room 114, on the first floor.

Air Transportation to CHO

The following information may be of use to you in estimating air transportation costs. The Charlottesville/Albemarle County airport (CHO) is just off Route 29, eight miles north of the University of Virginia. The airport is served by (in decreasing order of utility) US Airways Express, United Express, Delta Connection, and Northwest. United provides frequent commuter flights between Dulles (IAD) and Charlottesville. There are no flights between Reagan National Airport (DCA) in downtown Washington, DC, and Charlottesville. For online information about flights into and out of CHO, consult the airport’s website, which also offers links to current flight deals. Direct flights to and from Charlottesville are available through Atlanta (Delta Connection), Washington DC/Dulles (United Express), Charlotte (US Airways Express), Detroit (Northwest), Philadelphia (US Airways Express), and NYC/LaGuardia (US Airways Express). In general, if you must fly (see information about trains below), it is usually a good idea to fly directly into CHO. The most convenient ground transportation from Richmond International Airport (RIC), Washington, DC/Dulles, and Reagan National is by train, which would of course require transportation between airport and train station.

The taxicab fare from CHO to UVa (the same for 1-4 passengers) is about $35 each way, including tip.

Ground Transportation

Train: The Amtrak train called the Crescent passes north-south (Penn Station-Atlanta) through Charlottesville (CVS) daily. Another Amtrak train, the Cardinal, passes through CVS from Chicago on its way to Union Station in Washington, DC (and then continues north to Penn Station in New York City). A third train, the New England Retional, was introduced in 2009 and goes from Boston to Lynchburg via Providence, New Haven, New York, etc., with no change in train needed. If tickets are purchased at least two weeks in advance there is a 25% discount. Consult the Amtrak website or call 1-800-USA-RAIL for arrival and departure times. The CVS Amtrak station is located about a quarter of a mile from the Central Grounds. If you are staying in a local hotel, ask about arranging pick-up and drop-off, or call a taxi. If you live near an Amtrak station, you should consider taking the train. Infrequent riders often are surprised by its convenience and reliability. Tickets from New York City, for example, are competitively priced with airfare, and don’t always require switching trains. You’ll also save time and money getting to and from the airport.

Bus: There are generally at least two buses a day from downtown Washington, DC to Charlottesville ($25-30, each way; usually 3 to 4 hrs; 124 miles). Not all of these routes are direct; you may have to transfer in another city. Be sure to ask about transfers when purchasing your ticket. Check the Greyhound website or call 1-800-231-2222 for fare and schedule information.

Car: The main north-south highway to (and through) Charlottesville is Route 29; it intersects with Interstate 66 about 30 miles west of Washington and about 80 miles north of UVa. The main east-west highway, just south of town, is Interstate 64. Interstate 81 (north-south) lies to the west of Charlottesville on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains; it intersects I-64 about 25 miles to the west of Charlottesville. For driving directions to Charlottesville from any point, use one of the popular mapping websites (MapQuest, Yahoo! maps, or Google maps); all three sites give good often identical directions. If you are using a mapping website for directions to Charlottesville, enter 105 Emmet Street Charlottesville, VA 22903 as your destination, i.e. the intersection of Route 29 (= Emmet Street) and Ivy Road. If you want to familiarize yourself with the terrain, consult street-level views from Google maps.


Parking is available in the Central Grounds Parking Garage, accessible 24 hrs/day from Emmet St and – during the daytime – from Newcomb Road (off of University Ave). The rate is $2/hour Monday to Saturday, 8 am-5 pm payable in cash or check. After 5 pm the rate is $.70/hour until 10 p.m. From 10 p.m. to 8 am there is a flat rate of $1; on Sundays parking is $.70/hour all day.

The University has many parking lots, and many restrictions governing their use. If you park in a lot for which you do not have the proper sticker or dashboard pass, you are likely to get a ticket (fines are $30 and up, depending on the gravity of the offense). There is some chance that you will get towed if you park illegally in a lot where “Towing Enforced” signs are posted. Many University parking lots allow permitless parking after 5 pm and over the weekend. Single-day on-the-street parking in the immediate precincts of the University is fairly limited (many spaces require a local resident’s permit: read the signs carefully). The most desirable curbside parking spaces in the University neighborhood tend to be two-hour-maximum. If you are staying in dormitory housing, weekly parking is available through Conference Services for $15/per week. If you are not staying in dormitory housing, it still may be possible to obtain a parking pass, though additional fees may apply. Contact UVa Conference Services directly at 434-924-4479 for more information. Likewise, some hotels offer parking to their guests.

Dormitory Housing

During the summer sessions in Charlottesville, Rare Book School’s on-campus housing is managed by Conference Services of the UVa Housing Division. Admitted students may make reservations via this online form (forthcoming). This form has been designed to accommodate most participants’ needs; however, if you have other special arrangements, e.g. a non-standard departure time, please contact Conference Services directly at 434-924-4479.

If you are attending back-to-back RBS sessions and wish to remain in the same room for the duration of your stay, please call CS at the time of your reservation or you may be required to switch rooms.

Conference Services (CS) will do its best to accommodate last-minute housing requests and changes, but it cannot create space where there isn’t any: please let CS know your housing requirements as soon as possible! The deadline for housing requests occurs exactly one month before each session begins; after this time a $50 late fee will be applied to your reservation. If you apply and are admitted to an RBS course after this deadline and want to stay in dormitory housing, you are still required to pay this fee.

The prices for dorms in 2012 are:

Brown College, double occupancy - $40 per person per night (air conditioned)
Brown College, single occupancy - $55 per person per night (air conditioned)

For more information about housing options, consult the Rare Book School Information Guide, referenced in your admissions packet and distributed to admitted students only.


There are several hotels within relatively easy walking distance of the Central Grounds of the University. RBS reserves a block of rooms at special rates at the Courtyard Marriott ($149/night weekdays, $189/night weekends), Hampton Inn & Suites ($129/night Sun-Thurs and $169 Fri-Sat), Red Roof Inn ($77.99/night Sun-Thurs and $87.99 Fri-Sat for Double, $85.99/night Sun-Thurs and $95.99 Fri-Sat for Super or King), and Cavalier Inn ($87/night weekdays, $103/night Fri-Sat). Rooms are also available at the Budget Inn and Econo Lodge (though no reservation blocks are made by RBS). The tax rate is 11%. Please mention “Rare Book School at UVa” when you call to make your reservation. When you make your reservation, be sure to ask about other discounts. For example: the AAA rate (if you are a member) or the government rate (if you are employed by a federal agency) may be lower! Also be advised that each hotel has a deadline for obtaining the RBS rate (usually one month before the course begins) so please make your reservation as soon as possible.

The best hotels in Charlottesville are generally thought to be the Boar’s Head Inn (a Four-Diamond Resort) and the downtown Omni Hotel, each about a mile and a half from the Central Grounds of UVa. There are many other hotels and motels in Charlottesville, including the usual assortment of national chains, as well as an interesting variety of country inns and bed-and-breakfast places (many of them written up in national and regional back roads-and-country-inn guidebooks and suchlike). The walking-distance Dinsmore House Inn will usually offer a discounted rate to RBS students.

See also: A sample budget for Charlottesville.

Other locations (Baltimore, NYC, Washington, DC)

RBS’s course venues include Baltimore (at the Walters Art Museum), New York City (at the Grolier Club and the Morgan Library & Museum), and Washington, DC (at the Freer/Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution). When estimating costs to attend RBS at one of these locations, your best bet is to go onto one of the many websites specializing in competitively priced travel arrangements (Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, to name a few) and see what you can turn up. You should inquire about weekly rates at your hotel of choice: it may well be cheaper to spend seven nights rather than six. Be sure to ask about other discounts, e.g. the AAA rate (if you are a member) or the government rate (if you are employed by a federal agency).


The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 North Charles Street, in the heart of Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District. The museum rests in the southwest corner of Mount Vernon Place, one mile north of the city’s Inner Harbor and about two miles south of the Johns Hopkins University main campus. The Engineer’s Club (AKA the Engineering Society) of Baltimore is located in the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion at 11 West Mount Vernon Place, next door to the Walter Art Museum’s Mount Vernon Place entrance. Daily receptions and lectures are held here.

Baltimore’s local airport, BWI, is about an hour’s drive from either of the major airports in Washington, DC. (Note: when comparing prices between flights into BWI with flights into Dulles (IAD) or Reagan National (DCA), don’t forget to factor in the cost of ground transportation from Washington to Baltimore.) MTA’s light rail provides a direct and inexpensive link from BWI to Mount Vernon Place (the Centre Street stop is three blocks west of the Walters Art Museum) and Baltimore’s Penn Station. In addition, Baltimore’s Penn Station (located about a mile north of Mount Vernon Place and the Walters Art Museum) sits along Amtrak’s northeastern (Boston-Washington-Richmond) service route. (The MTA no. 3 bus [north on Charles, south on St Paul] connects the Amtrak station and Mount Vernon Place [to the south] and the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University [to the north]).

The closest full-service hotel to the Walters Art Museum is the Peabody Court Hotel. Other attractive (though expensive) possibilities within walking distance include the two jointly-owned Tremont Plaza and Tremont Park hotels.

See also: A sample budget for Baltimore.

New York City

Courses in NYC will be held at either the Grolier Club or the Morgan Library & Museum; consult the course descriptions or course schedule to find out where your course meets. The Grolier Club is located at 47 East 60th St (one-way westbound), between Park Avenue (two-way traffic) and Madison Avenue (northbound), New York, NY 10022. There are two subway stops near the Grolier Club: one at Fifth Avenue at 60th Street (N, R, and W trains), the other at Lexington Ave at 59th/60th Streets (4, 5, and 6 trains). There are frequent northbound Madison Avenue buses (e.g. the 1, 2, 3, and 4) and southbound Lexington Avenue buses (e.g. the 98, 101, 102, and 103). Morgan Library & Museum is located at 225 Madison Ave (one-way northbound) between 36th Street (eastbound) and 37th Street (westbound), New York, NY 10016. The Morgan is easily accessible by subway (via No. 6 to 33d Street; No. 4, 5, 6 or 7 to Grand Central B, D, F, Q to 42d Street) or by bus (via the M2, M3, M4, Q32 to 36th Street, or PATH to 33d Street). For general maps, subway maps, and an interactive map/trip planner, see the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's website.

New York City is well served by its three airports. You may find that flying into Newark (EWR) is so much cheaper than flying into LaGuardia (LGA) or Kennedy (JFK) that the savings justifies the sometimes tedious business of taking ground transportation between Newark or Jamaica Bay and midtown Manhattan. CoachUSA offers the Newark Liberty Airport Express shuttle into the City for $15 one-way or $25 round trip. For visitors from nearby states, commuter trains offer convenient access to the city without the hassle or expense of parking.

There are no genuinely cheap hotels in midtown New York City. The Pod Hotel and Salisbury Hotel are two good places to begin your search. Hostels offer dormitory housing (on the cheap) or reasonably priced single rooms.

As you choose your hotel and consider your daily transportation needs, there are also several interactive online maps of NYC you may want to consider experimenting with, including Google Maps with its “Street View” feature that allows you to view panoramic street-level images; and Hopstop, an online route planner which provides door-to-door subway and bus instructions.

See also: A sample budget for New York City.

Washington, DC

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution are located respectively at 1050 Independence Ave SW and at Jefferson Drive and 12th Street on the National Mall, next door to the Smithsonian’s Castle and across the street from the US Department of Energy and the northern end of the L’Enfant Promenade.

There are several hotels more or less within walking distance of the National Mall. Moderately-priced hotels include: Hotel Harrington (the best bet for a hotel within walking distance of the Freer/Sackler, though VERY basic: read reviews before making a reservation) and Capitol Hill Suites (the only hotel actually on Capitol Hill). Other more expensive options include: JW Marriott Hotel Pennsylvania Avenue and Willard InterContinental. Washington, DC is also well served by its Metro. You may find it less expensive to stay at hotel, bed and breakfast, or friend’s/relative’s house a bit further afield, but located on (or close to) one of the metro lines. The Smithsonian Station is served by the Blue and Orange Lines.

See also: A sample budget for Washington, DC.

Other Costs

All RBS courses have advance reading lists or other assignments that the instructors require their students to work on before they arrive for class. We know that it’s not always easy to get the books and articles assigned by RBS instructors. If you are having trouble locating books, you may be able to borrow books through inter-library loan. There are a number of American used/antiquarian booksellers specializing in books on books and other subjects relevant to RBS courses. Another possibility for purchasing the books you need is through Internet used and rare book services, such as Book Finder.

You may find the sample budgets page useful in organizing and accounting for the various costs discussed on this page. The sample budgets (for Charlottesville, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, DC) offer cost estimates arranged in tabular form.