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    Va. college tuition increases by 5.2 percent

    Heading into the new school year, state college students will find their wallets squeezed tighter than ever as tuition continues to climb.

    Undergraduates at Virginia’s four-year public colleges and universities will see an average increase of 5.2 percent in tuition and mandatory fees compared to last year, the State Council of Higher Education said in a report released last week.

    That amounts to an average increase of $544 billed to students, according to the annual report. George Mason University in Fairfax fell squarely in the middle of the pack overall, with a 4.8 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees, or $474.

    Tuition and instructional fees saw the steepest rise — 6.8 percent on average across four-year institutions. Other mandatory fees covering other facets of university life, including student health services, athletics and transportation, climbed just 2.3 percent on average.

    That bump for noninstructional mandatory fees barely rises above the annual rate of inflation (2.1 percent).

    “The increase in these fees is actually the smallest we’ve seen in at least 20 years,” said Dan Hix, SCHEV’s finance policy director.

    George Mason was one of only three schools that saw a greater rate of increase in these noninstructional fees than in academic costs, according to the report. Its tuition and instructional fees went up by 4.7 percent, less than the state average, but its other mandatory fees increased by 4.9 percent.

    “George Mason strives to keep college affordable and accessible while providing a strong return on investment for students,” school spokeswoman Michele McDonald said in a statement.

    Yet universities walk a fine line between providing affordability and improving the student experience, Hix said.

    “Some people might think these fees, which pay for things like athletics and student recreation, are going too far,” Hix said.

    Noninstructional fees are easier for a university to control than its tuition, as public universities rely on state funding for educational costs. This year, due to the budget impasse in the General Assembly, higher education institutions had to set tuition rates without knowing how much money they would receive from the state.

    Even if schools had all the cards on the table, though, it would not have changed much, Hix said. Despite initial promises of up to $100 million in additional higher education funding, in the end funding increased by just $5 million.

    With tuition continuing to increase year after year, the student share of the cost of college education in Virginia has reached a record high, Hix said.

    The state’s tuition policy sets a target for the General Assembly of covering at least 67 percent of the cost of education, leaving 33 percent for students. For the 2014-15 school year, Virginia students instead will cover 53 percent of educational costs.

    “The weight of that burden has shifted significantly to the shoulders of students and parents,” Hix said. “That’s a result of the erosion of state support over the last decade. It would take a huge change to even approach that goal.”

    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


    After reading through some of the comments here (”...cost of Obamacare is likely a factor…”) it seems some may have saved some money by ending their education a bit early.

    Consider this from a recent PEW Trust report:

    During the last 20 years, corrections spending has increased by 127 percent on top of inflation, while spending on higher ed has increased only 21 percent.

    Confuse college & healthcare much?  VA GOP wants 2 decimate public education, period

    Refusing expansion creates “hidden tax” = $1,177 per person for 10 yrs

    House Speaker “ALEC” Howell & VA GOP throw away $14.7b of Medicaid money, $6.2b for Hospitals, through 2022.  Result in closure, takeovers of locally-owned hospitals by out-of-state conglomerates

    Republican “Walking Mayor” (Adam O’Neal of Bellhaven, NC) knows refusing expansion = insanity

    College costs are extremely overinflated these days for several factors. First, the cost of Obamacare is likely a factor because it increased the cost of providing healthcare to the tens of thousands of state employees in Virginia.  Second, students are asking for more and more luxury amenities (fancy recreation centers, dorms with stainless steel appliances, etc).  Third, colleges know they can raise rates because students will just take out debt (from the federal government) to pay for tuition.  If college loans stopped, then the cost of tuition would come down immediately since the average person could not afford it.  And the focus would be on actually learning, not a college lifestyle.

    It does seem that the colleges and universities are sticking it to someone alright and that’s the taxpayer. Besides the silly salary that teachers get the benefit out of this world How about complaining about the unfunded pensions that equal 11 thousand dollars of debt for every man, woman and child in Virginia. That’s just state debt add about 55 thousand for the federal debt and spending cuts, freezes and sequestration appears to be the only fiscal responsible way to go. At the rate we are going Obama, Warner Kaine and the boys are spending great grand children’s taxes. Just think if you are lucky enough to be born in the USA you are already in debt to the tune of 65 thousand dollars. Warner, Kaine and the senate need to be changed for the better, these guys were part of the shutdown. Real senators would have found a solution. Warner lied so much about the health care that he is going to lose his re-election bid.  Warner and the truth have a distant relationship and because he is a democrat he’ll get 47% of the vote which is scary in that that many people can be hoodwinked with the proof of what a poor job this man and his colleagues have done. How much has the debt increased, yikes!

    The real problem here is the republican controlled House of Delegates.  They refuse to fund important things, like the cost of a world-class college and university system in Virginia.  I guess these republican elected officials see nothing wrong in catering to their rabid tea-bagger base.  I would guess. also, that the tea-bagger portion of Virginia must be smiling broadly with news like this, because they seem to enjoy sticking it to others.

    Inflation up 2.10% since Jun 2013, yet tuition is up 5.20%?  What a scam.

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