Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Relations
General Fund Investment Mitigates
Community College Tuition Increase
~ Commitment from General Assembly and Governor McDonnell Saves Students Money ~
RICHMOND —The State Board for Community Colleges established the 2011-2012 in-state tuition and mandatory fee rate at $119 per credit hour. As a result, in-state students will pay an additional $9.50 per credit hour beginning in the fall, which equates to an increase of $28.50 per three-hour class, or $285 for the year for a full-time in-state student.
The tuition increase was mitigated by General Fund investments Governor Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly made during the 2011 legislative session. Those investments reduced the General Fund cuts Virginia’s Community Colleges have endured since 2008 from $105 million to $95 million. During that same time, Virginia’s Community Colleges have enrolled an additional 48,000 students.
The approved 8.7 percent increase is needed to meet the goals of the State Board financial plan and support community college enrollment growth; expand science, teaching, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs; provide new facility operating costs; fill select vacant positions; and cover the inflationary costs of technology, utilities and general expenses.
“We are grateful for the partnership that the Governor and General Assembly are sharing with Virginia’s 23 community colleges during tight budgetary times. We are working with those leaders to keep tuition affordable for Virginia families while ensuring our community colleges are able to meet their needs,” said Jeffery K. Mitchell, chair of the board’s budget & finance committee. “The budget cuts and enrollment growth our community colleges have seen are unprecedented.”
“This tuition rate positions Virginia’s Community Colleges to balance the critical demands of affordability and accessibility,” said Nathaniel X. Marshall, chairman of the State Board. “Our community colleges are playing a key role in the Governor’s call for an additional 100,000 Virginia college graduates; they are pursuing an aggressive public agenda; and they are reforming the way they operate with a bold reengineering effort. Virginia’s Community Colleges are staying true to their mission during a time of tight public resources and growing demand.”
The Governor and General Assembly also supported a significant increase in financial aid in the 2011 state budget. State financial aid for community colleges was increased by $5.4 million, a 20 percent increase, that will further mitigate the costs of enrolling in a community college for some of the state’s most financially fragile students.
Keeping a public promise
The board’s tuition decision is in accord with Achieve 2015, the new VCCS six-year strategic plan that calls for keeping community college tuition and fee rates at one-half or less than that of the comparable rates at Virginia’s four-year universities.
Currently, mandatory tuition and fees at Virginia’s Community Colleges are just over one-third (37 percent) of the comparable average tuition and fees charged by public four-year institutions.
Another way to consider affordability is by measuring tuition and mandatory fees as a percentage of Virginia’s per capita disposable income as SCHEV does in its 2011 Tuition and Fees at Virginia’s State-Supported Colleges and Universities report. In that report the mandatory undergraduate tuition and fees at Virginia’s four-year institutions were estimated to be 41.6 percent of disposable personal income. The same report pegs the Virginia two-year institution average at 8.1 percent.
The State Board also agreed to increase the tuition differential rate for Northern Virginia Community College by $2.80 per credit hour – bringing the differential total to $17.15 per credit hour. Officials at NVCC, the nation’s second largest community college, say the increase is needed to hire more full-time faculty and increase need-based financial aid to accommodate the needs of the college’s surging enrollment and the region’s exploding population. Even with the differential, NVCC’s tuition remains the lowest in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
The board made no change to the tuition differential rate for J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, leaving the existing differential total at $2.10 per credit hour.
The State Board increased the tuition rate for out-of-state students by $9.50 per credit hour to a total of $310.16 per credit hour. Out-of-state students make up only seven percent of the total enrollment of Virginia’s Community Colleges.
About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 400,000 students a year. For more information, please visit myfuture.vccs.edu.