Study: VCU had second-highest tuition hike

According to a report from Virginia Public Radio, VCU’s tuition has risen 111 percent, the second greatest rise in higher-education institutions in Virginia from 2008 to 2016. The College of William and Mary ranks No.1 with a 123 percent rise in its tuition.

While William and Mary’s tuition was the greatest increase in the commonwealth, many of its students have not experienced the impact because of the institution’s tuition guarantee.

Gloria Cruz Olea, sophomore at William and Mary, said she chose the school because of its tuition guarantee.

“It has helped my family and I budget ourselves,” said Cruz Olea.

Many schools across the nation have tuition initiatives similar to W&M — VCU students impacted by tuition hikes do not have such an option.

“I would have an easier time allocating money for school because I know exactly what it would be instead of coming up short because the tuition increased for whatever reason,” said Aayush Ghimire, a VCU senior majoring in information systems.

Many students who hear of “tuition guarantee” think of it as a win. However, most individuals do not sift through the complex process of what makes such an initiative successful and fair for students in all aspects of cost of attendance.

According to an article from U.S. News & World Report an institution’s tuition initiatives can vary in name and policies. The initiatives also do not mean cost of attendance will not increase.

“The programs don’t mandate that other college fees, such as room and board, won’t rise during a student’s time of enrollment,” U.S. News & World Report stated.

Colleges offering tuition-lock guarantees are often older, more established institutions.

“This university doesn’t have the years of tradition and history like William & Mary and UVA,” said Karol Gray, VCU vice president of finance and budget. “They have a very strong donor database, and therefore their endowment is significantly higher than the university.”

Creating pathways to affordable tuition at public colleges and universities was a hot-button issue in Virginia’s statewide elections this year.

Governor-elect Ralph Northam advocated for tuition caps during his campaign this year.

“Too many Virginia students still can’t afford to attend our public colleges and universities,” Northam’s website states. “Students should not have to shoulder the burden of large tuition increases.”

Dakota Rust, Contributing Writer

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