© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

What's Behind The Soaring Cost of Higher Education in Virginia?

AP Photo / Steve Helber

Across Virginia, the cost of higher education is skyrocketing.

It’s back to school time. So hold onto your wallets because since the recession, the cost of tuition has more than doubled at Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William and Mary. Statistics compiled by the Commonwealth Institute show even Northern Virginia Community College has increased its tuition by 84% since 2008. Frank Shafroth is a professor at George Mason University, where the tuition has increased 41 percent since the recession.


“46 states, all but Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, have reduced state aid for higher public education.”

Sally Hudson at the University of Virginia says part of the reason for the spike has nothing to do with with state aid. Part of the reason that the cost of tuition at UVA has increased 61% since the recession is...

“The institution made a conscious choice it was going to raise the sticker price so that those paying full freight would be funding financial aid for low-income families.”

During the same time that the cost of higher education has spiraled out of control, other commodities have actually declined in cost. The cost of the average home in Virginia has declined 7% since the recession because of the housing bubble. And the cost of milk has declined 15% because of the commodity boom during the late 2000s.

A spokesperson for the College of William and Mary noted that the school offers the W&M Promise.  The program is a guaranteed tuition model for in-state students that locks in tuition at the freshman year. The program has been in place since 2012.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association  

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
Related Content