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Will Virginia Lawmakers Implement Another Tuition Freeze This Year?

Taber Andrew Bain / Creative Commons

For two decades, tuition at Virginia’s universities was on the rise. That ended last year after a massive new investment in higher education was available only to schools who agreed to cap their tuition rates. But, it’s unclear whether lawmakers will make the same move this year.

Virginia’s Governor isn't advocating for the same budget trick.

Instead, he wants the focus for higher-ed funding to be on low-income students. That would come in the form of need-based financial aid, community college tuition assistance, and new investments in the state’s historically black colleges and universities.

But Stacie Gordon, with Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust, is hoping instead for a repeat of last year’s successful tuition freeze. Which she says benefits all students, including low-income ones.

“A one year freeze is a very temporary solution and it’s not going to address long-term issues of rising costs years down the road,” Gordon says.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have introduced budget amendments to do just that.

And a spokeswoman for the powerful chair of the House Appropriations Committee says he’s also on board, and is hopeful a similar freeze will wind up in this year’s budget.

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

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief.