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VA General Fund investments restrain RCC tuition increase

At the May meeting of the State Board for Community Colleges, an in-state tuition increase of $5.50 per credit hour for the academic year of 2012-13 was mandated, bringing the cost per credit hour up to $124.50 (this figure includes a $7.50 technology fee). Consequently, beginning in Fall 2012, the cost of a typical three-credit class for Rappahannock Community College students will increase by $16.50, and the cost of a full load of 15 credits per semester by $82.50. General Fund investments made by Governor Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session kept this increase to a minimum.

Tuition Comparison: Community College v. Public 4-Year University

Tuition Comparison: Community College v. Public 4-Year University

“We are grateful for the leadership that the Governor and General Assembly are sharing with Virginia’s 23 community colleges,” said Jeffery K. Mitchell, chair of the State Board for Community Colleges. “We are partnering with those leaders to keep tuition affordable for Virginia families, while ensuring our community colleges are able to meet their needs, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health science education [STEM-H].”

The nearly $21 million assigned from the General Fund represents the first time in six years that state support for in-state Virginia Community College System (VCCS) students has risen. This 4.6 percent increase is needed to support community college enrollment growth; to expand STEM-H programs; to increase the percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty; and to cover the inflating costs of technology, utilities, and general expenses.

The State Board’s tuition decision is in accord with “Achieve 2015,” the VCCS six-year strategic plan that calls for keeping community college tuition and fees at or lower than one half of those charged at Virginia’s four-year universities. Currently, mandatory tuition and fees at VCCS colleges are just over one third (37 percent) of the average cost of comparable programs at public four-year institutions.

 

Image: Even in the present economy, Virginia’s community colleges have maintained their tuition charges at just over one third those of public four-year institutions.

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