Cost of College Climbs For Va. Students

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For students that live on campus in Virginia, the upcoming school year will cost over $1,000 more than it did last year.

The state funded State Council of Higher Education just published an analysis of higher-education costs.  The cost of a 4-year degree continues to go up in the state, although the percentage increase was not as much as last year's.

The study says that when adding tuition, mandatory fees like health care,  together with room and board, the average in-state undergraduate program costs $17,883 for the coming school year.  That's up 6.2 percent over last year's total cost.

Nearly half of that goes to room and board, which averaged $8,349 across in-state programs.

The report notes that tuition rates have varied widely over the past decade, following the state's economic conditions.  In good times, the state has restricted tuition hikes, but then allowed institutions to make double-digit tuition increases in lean periods.

The largest leap in tuition and mandatory fees over the past decade happened between fiscal years 2002 and 2003, when the rates went up by 21.5 percent.  Between 2011 and 2012, tuition and mandatory fees increased by 9.7 percent.  The erratic rates make it harder for parents to financially plan for their children's education, the report says.

For the past few years, rates have been cushioned by federal stimulus dollars, to offset five straight years of decreased state funding.  The report's authors expressed concern that in the future, without federal dollars to help, students and their families will face increased costs unless the Commonwealth allocates greater funding to higher education funding.

You can view the Council of Higher Education's full report, including a breakdown of costs by Virginia institution, click here.

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