Contact: Greg Weatherford
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August 3, 2017
For immediate release
RICHMOND — Undergraduate students living on campus will pay on average $860 (3.9%) more this year at Virginia’s public four-year institutions — the lowest such increase in 16 years.
This is despite increases in tuition and mandatory fees for instruction-related activities for undergraduates, suggesting that the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities are holding costs down in other areas such as student activities, housing and meals.
These figures are detailed in the annual Tuition and Fees Report from the State Council of Higher Education, released this week and available at this link.
“Virginia's public institutions share our concern that college costs are getting out of reach for many,” said Dan Hix, finance policy director for SCHEV. “With support from the governor and the General Assembly, tuition increases last year were the lowest in many years. This year’s tuitions have gone up from that near-historic low. However, the figures show that the Commonwealth’s public institutions are working to rein in other costs.
“Last year, the General Assembly and governor increased state support for higher education by more than 8%. This year, Virginia’s colleges will see an average reduction of 2.5%,” Hix added. “This Tuition and Fees Report indicates that when the state provides additional support to public higher education, our institutions can better control the rate at which they increase tuition.”
College cost increasingly falls on students and families
The cost of college is taking a bigger bite out of family budgets. Virginia's students and families now pay 53% of the total cost of college at four-year institutions on average; the state now pays 47%, according to SCHEV data. Virginia policy sets the state’s share at 67% — 20 percentage points more than it pays today.
“Virginia’s students and families are shouldering the majority of the cost to go to college, and every year they take on more,” Hix said. “Meanwhile, tuition and fees continue to go up. This year’s figures are encouraging in that they indicate our public institutions are figuring out ways to slow the growth of costs, something every Virginian should support."
Total charges for undergraduates at four-year institutions in Virginia are estimated at 47.7% of average disposable income — up almost 12 percentage points from 10 years ago, and above the national average of 43% in 2016 (the most recent year available). At public two-year institutions, which cost less and do not offer room and board, Virginians pay an average 10.7% of disposable income.
The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, the state’s strategic plan, has access and affordability of public higher education as a key goal.
"If these trends continue as they have for the past 10 years, our public institutions are at risk of being out of reach for the people who need them most," Hix said.
From the report
- Average tuition and mandatory fees for instruction-related activities for in-state undergraduate students will increase by $422 (5.4%) on average in the 2017-18 academic year. That means an average increase of $437 (5.3%) at four-year institutions and $120 (2.7%) at community colleges.
- Room and board charges will average $10,285 at Virginia’s four-year institutions, an increase of $296 or 3% — the lowest annual increase since 2001.
On average, in-state undergraduates will pay 53% of the cost of their education by 2018, despite Virginia’s stated goal that they pay no more than 33%, with the state funding the other 67%.
- It would take more than $660 million in additional state support to reach the goal of a 67%/33% state-student share of college costs. But doing so could result in average tuition amounts as much as $2,700 lower than current levels, or about 1/3 less per student on average.
- Virginia higher education has seen reductions in general-fund support in eight out of the past 10 years; the Commonwealth ranks 41st in the nation in the amount of state support per student.
- College bills are taking a bigger share of family budgets, with total charges for undergraduates at four-year institutions in Virginia estimated at 47.7% of average disposable income – up almost 12 percentage points from 10 years ago.
- Virginia undergraduates at public institutions received more than $865 million in grants and scholarships from federal, state, institutional and private sources in 2015-16.
The 2017 Tuition and Fees Report, an executive summary and downloadable charts from the report are available at www.schev.edu/tuitionreport.
Media resources — including links to downloadable high-resolution photos and logos, news advisories and releases — are available at www.schev.edu/media.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia is the state’s coordinating agency for higher education. With The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, SCHEV is dedicated to making Virginia the best-educated state by 2030. For more on The Virginia Plan: schev.edu/index/statewide-strategic-plan