- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008

RICHMOND | For the third year in a row, in-state undergraduates at Virginia’s public colleges will see tuition and fees rise by about 7 percent or more, a report by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shows.

At Virginia’s 15 four-year schools, the average annual in-state tuition and all mandatory fees come to $7,582, up 7 percent from 2007-08, according to the report, which also lists figures from the community college system and Richard Bland College.

In-state students at two-year community colleges will see their tuition and total mandatory fees rise 7.5 percent, to $2,584. Richard Bland, the state’s junior college, is increasing its tuition and fees 15.3 percent, to $3,048.

Last year, in-state tuition and fees at four-year schools rose by just under 7 percent, following an 8.2 percent increase in 2006-07.

The report also said that over the past decade, Virginia has restricted tuition increases during good economic times and allowed double-digit increases to offset funding reductions during a poor economy.

“The lack of continuity and predictability has limited students’ and their families’ ability to save effectively for college and has not provided equity for taxpayers in terms of meeting the cost of education,” the report said.

Despite an economic downturn, the General Assembly provided $32 million more for higher education this year and also is providing $17.5 million in a Tuition Moderation Incentive Fund for institutions that limit the increase of in-state tuition and fees to no more than 4 percent. Eleven schools have complied with the fund’s requirements.

But the council report said state funding for colleges and universities, when adjusted for inflation, is 5 percent below 2000-01 levels.

For 2008-09, average room and board will cost in-state students an average of $7,259, up 5.1 percent from last year - about half the price of their college education. The total average price of a year of college for an in-state undergraduate is $14,841, up 6.1 percent from last year.

Under 2008-09 rates, in-state undergraduates are responsible for 36 percent of their tuition costs; the state covers the other 64 percent. The state’s goal over the 2004-06 biennium was for the state to cover 67 percent of the costs for in-state undergraduates, council officials said.

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