VA College Tuition on the Rise
Although state tuition increases are 7.9% this year, compared to 10.6% last year, many students and schools alike are displeased with the low amount of state funds being allocated to Virginia’s public higher education system. A report released on Monday revealed that a total of $97 million of state revenue was used this year to counteract tuition and fee increases for students.
This $97 million of state revenue only accounts for 51% of the cost for student, meaning that students are responsible for the other 49% of the cost. With the state goal of contributing 67% to state education costs, this contribution of 51% is a historic low for Virginia.
Virginia’s tradition of education affordability is in jeopardy. Colleges and universities that were once marketed as the “best deals,” in terms of low prices and high quality, can no longer consider themselves as steals. University students across Virginia will pay an average of $1,050 more this 2011-2012 academic year. Some universities like Old Dominion University have been able to keep the costs down to a low 5% while others like the University of Mary Washington have raised tuition to a staggering 12%.
As a student at the University of Mary Washington, I have seen firsthand the effect that tuition increases have had on students. Some students have chosen to transfer to local community colleges, where the average increase was about $250 versus the $944 increase at the University of Mary Washington. Others have chosen to put off a year of school in order to work and save up money for tuition.
With budget cuts happening across the board, higher education is one budget that should not be on the chopping block. It has been stated in numerous recent studies that more college graduates make for a stronger economy and that 62% of jobs will require an associate’s degree or higher by 2018. With strong economic growth on the mind of every state official, a vital resource to our economy should not consistently be the first up for budget cuts.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of members of the NDP Steering Committee