Critics say a new push to allow more Virginia students into state colleges and universities could end up backfiring.
NOVA is one of the biggest community colleges in the country, with 73,000 students on its campuses. Many of them are from northern Virginia and know how hard it is to get into a State college or university.
Wearing a shirt from William and Mary, Elena Paquette told NBC Washington, “My friends applied and it's really difficult to get in and I didn’t apply because I didn’t want to deal with that much stress.”
"Out of high school I applied to George Mason and got rejected, but I’m good though,” NOVA student Savvas Hadjichristodoulov said.
A new bill in the Virginia Legislature would improve the chances for Virginia students to get into state schools.
"What my bill would do gradually over three years is to require state schools to admit 75 percent of their students from in state," said Republican Delegate Tim Hugo.
According to George Mason University Dean of Admissions Andrew Flagel, the number of Virginia students may be reduced under the bill if schools lose the revenue from out-of-state students, who pay higher tuitions.
In the meantime, many Virginia students are counting on NOVA’s programs to allow them to transfer to a 4-year, state-run university or college.
"I knew from the beginning I was going to come here and then transfer JMU was definitely a possibility,” Carey Costa said.