Posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The high cost of higher education comes into sharp focus in a new report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Each August, SCHEV analyzes tuition and mandatory fees at Virginia’s state-supported colleges and universities.  The latest report shows that in the academic year that is just beginning, students and families will pay, on average, 5.9 percent more ($507) to attend one of Virginia’s four-year institutions. Students attending one of Virginia’s Community Colleges will pay 2.5% more ($113) than they did last academic year.

“We are committed to providing affordable higher education opportunities,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges.  “The SCHEV report underscores the importance of our mission to offer high quality, accessible programs that recognize the real-world needs of students and families in communities across the commonwealth.”

VCCS tuitions established in May keep community college tuition and mandatory fees at approximately one-third of the comparable costs of attending Virginia’s public four-year universities.

The following graphic shows the roller-coaster nature of increases in tuition and mandatory education and general (E&G) fees at Virginia’s state-supported colleges and universities over the years. The figures here combine tuition hikes at the state’s four-year and two-year colleges (Source: State Council of Higher Education for Virginia):

Since 2002, due to declining state funding, Virginia’s public system of higher education has experienced a steady shift in how it is funded. Students and their families have taken on a larger share of the cost.

Considering the relationship between student costs and the average Virginian’s per-capita disposable income:

  • Attending a four-year public college or university now commands a record 50 percent of disposable income.
  • Attending one of Virginia’s two-year colleges (including VCCS and Richard Bland College) now commands 11.1 percent of per-capita disposable income.

In the words of the SCHEV report:

“Education beyond high school, in all its forms, has transformative powers. It is both a public and a private good. The growing importance of higher education as a requirement for sustainable employment and prosperity imposes an ever-greater responsibility on the Commonwealth to ensure that Virginia’s public higher-education system remains not only viable but vibrant.”

To view SCHEV’s full Report on Tuition and Fees, click here.'

Jim Babb

Jim Babb works for Virginia's Community Colleges in the Office of Strategic Communications.

1 Comment

  1. ?

    Peter Shaw

    The question of the day is: “VCCS colleges are cheaper than four year institutions but are they affordable given the VCCS target market?”


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