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A 24 percent tuition increase?

Update: U-Va. tuition has just been announced. Tuition and fees for in-state undergraduates will rise $956 to $10,628. Non-resident tuition and fees will increase by $1,902 to $33,574.

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond today announced a whopper of a tuition increase -- a reflection, school leaders said, of the magnitude of its budgetary challenge.

In-state tuition and fees will rise $1,700 to $8,817. Nonresidents will pay $21,949, a bump of $1,200 -- a larger number but smaller percentage.

Until now, I was portraying the 9- and 10-percent increases at other Virginia publics as unusually large, which I suppose they still are.

VCU "historically has maintained the lowest tuition of any doctoral research institution in Virginia," the school said in a release. Even with this substantial increase, "VCU's tuition remains lower than half of the state's public colleges and universities."

The university faces a $40 million budget gap over the next two years. State budget cuts have left the school with $13 million less in state support than 10 years ago, even though the student population is 8,500 larger.

Less than 10 percent of the student body is out-of-state, so there's no real possibility of narrowing the gap with higher nonresident tuition.

"The financial circumstances of preparing for the largest cut in state funding of any university in Virginia leaves no choice but to substantially raise tuition," VCU President Michael Rao said in the statement. The university has already eliminated "faculty positions, courses and class sections," he said. "Further cuts jeopardize the quality of education and the value of a VCU degree."

More: "No president of a public university wants to increase tuition, but it is the only way to protect the quality of the learning experiences of our 32,000 students."

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By Daniel de Vise  |  April 29, 2010; 4:31 PM ET
Categories:  Access , Administration , Finance , Public policy , Publics  | Tags: 24 percent tuition VCU, 24 percent tuition increase, VCU tuition increase, Virginia tuition increase, tuition fees VCU  
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Stop giving out BS financial aid. Make everyone pay the tuition or take out loans to pay it. At least this will go a long way to keeping tuition fair and allowing the school to pay for everything it needs.

Posted by: quandary87 | April 29, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

The fact that a university that charges tuition can, with a straight face, call itself "public" would be hilarious if it weren't so sad.

Posted by: AnonymousBE1 | April 30, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm confused by this statement - "In-state tuition and fees will rise $1,700 to $8,817. Nonresidents will pay $21,949, a bump of $1,200 -- a larger number but smaller percentage." It appears that the nonresident increase is both a lower number and a lower percentage, correct?

Posted by: constancecraving | April 30, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

As a VCU faculty member myself, this decision was very sad, but necessary
after the voters of Virginia made it clear
they wanted no tax increases-- to pay for education (or anything else.) The good old days of higher education being viewed as a public good, rather than a private gain, are gone, in Virginia at least. In-state students must now pay closer to (but still not all of) what it truly costs to educate them, since the taxpayers no longer want to help as they once did. George Mason Univ had a 25% increase a few years back, now VCU, and eventually others will do the same unless they have significant private support, as does the University of Virginia.

Posted by: danream | April 30, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The mortgages on all the real estate they bought are beginning to adjust.

Posted by: blasmaic | April 30, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

24%...yep, that is high. But, better than raising taxes.

If the kids can't afford college, then join the military for a few years.

Posted by: Revcain777 | April 30, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

$1,700 was ridiciously low.

Posted by: RedBird27 | April 30, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

This is the result of longstanding Republican opposition to funding the state's universities. It is pennywise, but pound foolish. This lack of investment will make Virginia a less attractive place to live and slow the state's potential for economic growth. Incidentally, as worded, the article gives the mistaken impression that in-state tuition had been set at $1700 annually. That is the added amount of tuition, bringing the total to $8,817 per year. With other expenses, parents of Virginia students are now looking at a degree from a 4-year institution costing almost $75,000 which is beyond reach for the majority of families.

Posted by: Viewpoint2 | April 30, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

It is time to rid ourselves of the corporate higher education system and develop a new one based on experiential real-world learning in a setting that respects teachers and students. This of course means giving up things like tenure, publish-or-perish, flush administrative salaries and golden parachutes and retirement packages as well as gigantic multi-million dollar facilities and high-tech toys. Let's leave all that research to the private sector - they already fund it anyway - and focus on teaching our people to be more informed and humane citizens and members of the human race. After that is done, then you can go get your specific training elsewhere. Make the new higher education system free after a 2-year period of national service, either in the military or a civilian corps dedicated to taking care of the homeland.

All we have to do now is wait for the system to crumble under its own greed and ineptitude.

Posted by: fortllatikcuf1 | April 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Why don't we take a small fraction of the $100 billion spent annually on student loans and create a FREE online university ? This would be an outstanding public good, allowing anyone to learn at their own convenience and providing a full range of coursework and learning resources.

What are we waiting for ??

Posted by: dan1138 | April 30, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Eliminate "tenure" and have EVERY professor/teacher/instructor teach at least 3 or 4 classes per week instead of doing "research".

Posted by: richardwcalvert | April 30, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

That's what happens when folks in Richmond constantly veto tax increases. He get nothin for nothin and nothin is never free.

Posted by: kschur1 | April 30, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The fact that a university that charges tuition can, with a straight face, call itself "public" would be hilarious if it weren't so sad.

Posted by: AnonymousBE1
Just because a school is financed through public funds, doesn't mean it is FULLY funded through public funds. CA tried to this and abysmally failed. High caliber universities fully funded through state funds is not possible.

Posted by: anti-elitist | April 30, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Even at $10,600 or $8800 - still a bargain. While the percentage increase may seem steep in some cases - it would still be less than a 4% increase at some private institutions. All the more reason to study hard, obtain top grades & score well on your exams so that you may gain entrance to a quality state school. Again, $10,600 or $8800 - a bargain in today's world of higher education (even with dorm fees on top of it).

Posted by: notamullethead | April 30, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Please. This is to fund fat salaries for administrators and tenured faculty. Get rid of tenure and cut administrators' salaries. Cut back on unrestrained "expansions" like those at VCU in times of financial stress. Academia thinks it should be immune to fiscal restraints.

Posted by: pjohn2 | April 30, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"My plans will create jobs and build roads and put more money into the classroom that's who I am and that's the kind of Governor I'll be."

Ronald McDonnell September, 2009

A 24 percent tuition increase is how Ronald McD plans on putting more money into the classroom.....

Posted by: waxtraxs | April 30, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe UVA classes can be taught by the local Illegals as they are willing to work for so little....

Perhaps we can also outsource UVA professors... Id rather pay an athlete a million plus contract then sit by and watch a few dollars being wasted on American higher education.

Posted by: waxtraxs | April 30, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Those age 18-20 are also adults. Although Virginia Commonwealth University will increase it's in-state tuition, the total of $8,817 is lower than many other universities. Since that university has of a loss of $13 million even though its population has increased, then it's justified that taxes be increased in Virginia, where I live. One stragedy is to increase the sales tax to 8% for everything.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | April 30, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

The economics still dictate that a college degree from a public university is a bargain given the added earnings achieved over the career of the degree holder. No question. If that isn't true why are there so many college students? How can you possibly think less revenue will have no impact on services? What are you people smoking? Of course tuition will increase as university budgets are cut. It has no bearing on ivory tower professors. Higher ed is adjusting to the economics of today's fiscal climate. Speaking for myself, I want the best and brightest scholars teaching theory to my kids, not computer screens via online courses or part-time, low wage instructors. Let's not turn the best system of higher ed in the world into Walmart. No thanks.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | May 1, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

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