Average Va. Public College Cost Up 5.1 Percent

The cost to attend Virginia's colleges and universities continues to go up, but officials say the increases seem to have leveled off.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia said Monday that the average increase in tuition and other mandatory fees at public colleges and universities this year was 5.1 percent. That's slightly higher than last year's averages of 4.5 percent.

The past two years have been the lowest average hikes in a decade.

SCHEV officials say the leveling off can be attributed to additional state contributions to higher education. In 2013, lawmakers designated an additional $25.1 million in general fund support for public colleges and universities.

SCHEV Director Peter Blake said in a news release the additional money "shows an understanding and commitment to the importance of higher education to the Commonwealth's economy and overall standard of living,'' while also demonstrating ongoing efforts by the schools to be more innovative.

Some schools, such as the College of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, will have different rates for new and existing students.

At the College of William & Mary, new undergraduate students will pay 20 percent more in tuition and fees than similar students paid last year, but that price will be guaranteed for four years of undergraduate study. Existing students will see their tuition and fees increase 1.8 percent.

At VCU, new undergraduate students will be charged by the number of credit hours they take per semester. That means a new student with a full course load of 15 credits per semester can expect to pay 25.4 percent more than last year's rate. Tuition and E&G increases for returning undergraduate students will be 4 percent.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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