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Community college tuition increase funds more STEM-H programs

A 4.4 percent increase in tuition for in-state students, recently approved for the academic year of 2013-14, will allow the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to expand its science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health science programs. The percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty will also increase, from 45 percent to 47.5 percent, and employees will receive higher salaries as well as more funding to offset health insurance costs.

The step up will bring the in-state tuition and mandatory fees rate to $130 per credit hour, which is $5.50 more than the previous rate. A typical three-hour class will cost $390, up from $373.50, and a full semester’s load of classes (15 credit hours) will rise from $1867.50 to $1950. Out-of-state tuition will go up by the same amount, for a total of $324.60 per credit hour.

“This tuition decision balances our priorities of access and quality. It permits Virginia’s community colleges to advance the long-held goal of hiring more full-time faculty members and offering more science and technology programs, which are expensive to offer, while adhering to our public promise of affordability,” said Hank W. Chao, chair of the State Board for Community Colleges.

Currently tuition and mandatory fees for VCCS schools are just over one-third (37.6 percent) of the average of comparable tuition and fees charged by Virginia’s public four-year institutions.

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