Community college students face rising tuition

Published 10:26 pm Thursday, May 20, 2010

RICHMOND—The State Board for Community Colleges unanimously approved an increase in tuition and fees for students in Virginia’s 23 community colleges, including Paul D. Camp Community College and Tidewater Community College.

In-state community college students will pay an additional $7.50 per credit hour, for a base rate of $107.50 per credit hour, starting this fall. Individual colleges can apply modest fees on top of the base rate set by the state board.

“We regret the increase in tuition, because we recognize the hardship it creates for students and their families,” said PDCCC President Dr. Douglas Boyce. “However, the increase is necessary because of reductions in state funding we have experienced over the last three years and anticipate will continue for several years to come.”

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The state board voted Thursday to increase the in-state tuition and mandatory fee rate to $109.50, but agreed to use federal stimulus funds to offset the fee increase by $2 per credit hour.

Under the new tuition rates, a full-time, in-state community college student taking 30 credit hours will pay an additional $225 for the academic year. Full-time students in Virginia’s four-year schools will contend with an average tuition and fee increase of $838.

“This tuition rate is a responsible decision that will allow Virginia’s community colleges to balance the critical demands of affordability and accessibility,” said Gary C. Hancock, chairman of the state board.

Tuition rates typically increase for the fall semester. But this year, the state board approved an increase for the fall and another for the spring semester. The state’s community colleges are dealing with record enrollment, while also absorbing millions in state budget cuts.

Out-of-state tuition will increase by $19 per credit hour to more than $300 per credit hour under the new tuition rates. Out-of-state students typically account for 5 percent or less of the total enrollment in the commonwealth’s community colleges.