State Board Sets Tuition for 2015-2016 Academic Year
State Board Sets Tuition for 2015-2016 Academic Year
~ Approves Pilot Programs to Reduce Tuition and Textbook Costs for Select Programs~
RICHMOND — The State Board for Community Colleges established the 2015-2016 academic year in-state tuition and mandatory fees rate at $142.50 per credit hour at its regular May meeting. Beginning this fall, in-state students will pay an additional $6.50 per credit hour, which means the cost of a typical three-hour class will increase by $19.50 and the cost of a full-time load of classes for the year will increase by $195.
The board also approved several programs designed to reduce students’ costs, including two pilot programs. The first pilot discounts tuition, as much as 25 percent, for some students at Danville Community College. The program aims to attract first generation students who live near the college into some of the most highly demanded programs through weekend and evening classes.
The second pilot authorizes five community colleges: Blue Ridge in Weyers Cave; Dabney Lancaster in Clifton Forge, Germanna in Fredericksburg; Patrick Henry in Martinsville; and Virginia Western in Roanoke to reduce textbook costs in select programs.
The third program will further reduce student textbook costs by expanding the usage of Open Educational Resources (OER) at more than half of Virginia’s Community Colleges. OER provides web-based cost-free textbooks. Students can save as much as $300 per course for which OER materials are fully available. A full-time student could save as much as $1,500 per semester.
Virginia’s Community Colleges will use the tuition increase to pay their share of employee pay raises and rising retirement and benefit costs. It will also pay for a new 24-hour student financial aid help desk, and the operating costs for new buildings across the state.
“Virginia’s Community Colleges are lean operations, equally concerned with affordable student access and providing a high-quality educational experience. Today’s tuition decision by the board strikes an important balance in that regard,” said Dorcas Helfant-Browning, chair of the State Board for Community Colleges.
KEEPING A PUBLIC PROMISE
The board’s tuition decision is in accord with Achieve 2015, the VCCS six-year strategic plan that calls for keeping community college tuition and fee rates at one-half or less than that of the comparable rates at Virginia’s four-year universities.
Currently, tuition and mandatory fees at Virginia’s Community Colleges are approximately one-third of the average of comparable tuition and fees charged by Virginia’s public four-year institutions.
DANVILLE PILOT PROGRAM
The Danville Community College pilot program aims to educate more welders, industrial maintenance technicians and information technology workers by making it easier for first generation students to afford and navigate the college’s programs. The pilot program seeks to enroll select students on a fulltime basis with a class schedule that emphasizes evenings and weekends and focused academic and support services.
TEXTBOOK COSTS REDUCTION PILOT
The effort approved by the Board to reduce textbook costs for select programs at five community colleges is a part of the VCCS partnership with Follett’s includED program, which uses technology and volume purchasing to replace the costs of textbooks with a lower materials fee students pay per course. The Board’s decision is a green light for the colleges to continue their work of designating which programs are subject to the pilot for the coming fall semester.
“We’re excited to see where the results of these one-year pilot programs take us,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “I applaud the college’s leaders for taking a fresh approach to align the needs of people and employers throughout their region, and to confront the costs of textbooks and materials which can be a deterrent to students and their families.”
The State Board also agreed to approve for several colleges increases in the tuition differential rates that are in addition to the base tuition. The board approved increasing the differential for Northern Virginia Community College by $2.00 per credit hour. Even with the differential, NVCC’s tuition remains the lowest among comparable colleges in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
Further, the board approved an increase of $1.00 per credit hour to the tuition differential rate for J. Sargeant Reynolds in Richmond; Germanna; Lord Fairfax in Winchester; Tidewater; Thomas Nelson in Hampton and Williamsburg; and Virginia Western community colleges.
The tuition differential rate for Piedmont Virginia Community College, in Charlottesville, remains unchanged from last year.
The State Board increased the tuition rate for out-of-state students by $6.50 per credit hour to a total of $337.10 per credit hour. Out-of-state students make up approximately 5-percent of the total enrollment of Virginia’s Community Colleges.
About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created nearly 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve an estimated 400,000 students a year. For more information, please visit vccs2staging.wpengine.com.