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NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Kathleen Kincheloe
(804) 786-2323
KathleenKincheloe@schev.edu
For Immediate Release

August 2, 2010

SCHEV Reports 10.6% Increase in Tuition and Mandatory Fees,
Warns of Further Increases Should State Funding Continue to Erode

RICHMOND — Virginia undergraduates at public colleges and universities in the Commonwealth can expect to pay 10.6% more on average in tuition and mandatory fees in 2010-11, according to a report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

SCHEV’s annual report, entitled “2010-11 Tuition and Fees at Virginia’s State-Supported Colleges and Universities,” reveals that in-state undergraduates at 4-year public institutions will experience an average increase in tuition and total mandatory fees of 10.5%, or about $838 per year. Virginia students attending community colleges will see an 18.1% increase, paying about $504 more per year. These figures take into account mid-year tuition increases that occurred in spring 2010 at four 4-year institutions and across the Virginia Community College System.

The Tuition and Fees report reveals how tuition charges for Virginia’s students are largely influenced by the Commonwealth’s economic condition. During periods of strong economic growth, the Commonwealth has restricted tuition increases at state-supported colleges and universities, but when the economy declines, Virginia public institutions have been allowed to increase tuition to help offset reductions in state funding. These dramatic shifts make it difficult for students and parents to effectively plan and save for college.

This latest tuition increase comes as public institutions are facing five consecutive years of general fund budget reductions to Virginia’s higher education system. By fiscal year 2012, state support for public colleges and universities will be reduced by more than $400 million or 27% from the original 2010 budget. Though the Virginia General Assembly allocated $273 million over two years from the Commonwealth’s share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), these federal monies will not be available to public colleges and universities after September 2011, leaving a significant gap in revenue.

Concerns about the lack of predictability and continuity in tuition and fee rates figure prominently in the discussions of Governor McDonnell’s newly formed Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation, and Investment. Commission members are charged with “crafting a sustainable higher education funding model that will… prevent future dramatic tuition increases which create unacceptable financial burdens on students and their families.”

“SCHEV is pleased to work with members of the Governor’s Higher Education Commission, as well as state legislators and institutional leaders, to address ways to make Virginia’s public institutions more affordable,” said Thomas Daley, SCHEV’s Acting Agency Head. “The Commission’s charge mirrors SCHEV’s longstanding commitment to ensuring that Virginians are not forced to choose between affordability and the quality academic instruction for which our colleges and universities are known.”

In addition to comparing charges in Virginia to those in other states, the SCHEV Tuition and Fees report discusses historic funding trends in the Commonwealth and examines tuition as a percentage of per capita disposable income. The full report is available on the SCHEV web site at http://www.schev.edu/reports/reportsindex.asp.

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for Virginia colleges and universities on higher education issues.

For more information, contact Kathleen Kincheloe, Assistant Director of Communications, at KathleenKincheloe@schev.edu or 804-786-2323.

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