Skyrocketing tuition in Virginia’s 15 public, four-year colleges and universities far outpaces rates of inflation, income – Affordable College Tuition
Skyrocketing tuition in Virginia’s 15 public, four-year colleges and universities far outpaces rates of inflation, income

Hikes in tuition and fees at Virginia’s public, four-year colleges and universities have soared as much as 263 percent in the past decade, far outpacing inflation and the median incomes of households in the commonwealth.

Cumulatively, Virginia’s 15 public, four-year colleges and universities hiked tuition and fees an average of 88 percent over the past decade, according to a review of data compiled by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The tuition and fees at Virginia’s public, four-year colleges and universities rose from an average of $6,607 in 2006 to $12,390 in 2016, according to data from SCHEV.

That rate is in line with the 82 percent increase over the past decade* that public, four-year colleges and universities across America increased tuition and fees, according to data from U.S. News & World Report.

The increases in tuition and fees ranged from a low of 56 percent at Virginia State University to a high of 263 percent at Virginia Commonwealth University. The College of William & Mary had a 150 percent increase, while the University of Virginia had a 100 percent increase, according to data from SCHEV. Increases included 84 percent at Virginia Tech and 77 percent at George Mason University.

Over that same time, the median household income in Virginia was virtually stagnant, according to census data. In 2006, the median household income — half of the households have a higher income while half are lower — in Virginia was $66,157. By 2015, the most recent year available for comparison, the median household income was $66,262, which is an increase of less than 1 percent.

A comparison of tuition hikes versus the rate of inflation shows just how high the cost of a college education has climbed. Total inflation in America from August 2006 to August 2016 was 18.1 percent, per the Consumer Price Index.

If the average cost of tuition and fees at Virginia’s public, four-year colleges and universities climbed at the same rate as inflation, it would be $7,804. Instead, the average cost of tuition and fees is at $12,390, exceeding the inflation rate by 59 percent.

To make a comparison, a car purchased for $15,000 in 2006 is the equivalent to $17,700 in today’s dollars. But that car, adjusted for the rate that Virginia public colleges and universities hiked their tuition, would cost $23,850 — a whopping $6,150 higher.

*Data is for 2015-16, the most recent year available.

Tuition and fees at Virginia’s public, four-year colleges and universities:

Christopher Newport University
2006-07: $6,408
2016-17: $13,054 — 104% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $7,656.

College of William & Mary
2006-07: $8,490
2016-17: $21,234 — 150%
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $10,143

George Mason University
2006-07: $6,382
2016-17: $11,300 — 77% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $7,625.

James Madison University
2006-07: $6,266
2016-17: $10,390 — 66% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $7,486.

Longwood University
2006-07: $7,558
2016-17: $12,240 — 62% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $9,030.

Norfolk State University
2006-07: $5,040
2016-17: $8,738 — 73% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $6,021.

Old Dominion University
2006-07: $6,065
2016-17: $10,046 — 66% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $7,246.

Radford University
2006-07: $5,713
2016-07: $10,081 — 76% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $6,825.

University of Mary Washington
2006-07: $6,059
2016-17: $11,570 — 91% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $7,239.

University of Virginia
2006-07: $7,845
2016-17: $15,714 — 100% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $9,372.

University of Virginia-Wise
2006-07: $5,653
2016-17: $9,539 — 69% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $7,754.

Virginia Commonwealth University
2006-07: $5,793
2016-17: $13,130 — 263% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $6,921.

Virginia Military Institute
2006-07: $9,435
2016-17: $17,492 — 85% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $11,272.

Virginia State University
2006-07: $5,429
2016-17: $8,472 — 56% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $6,486.

Virginia Tech
2006-07: $6,973
2016-17: $12,852 — 84% increase
The 2006-07 tuition has the same buying power in 2016 as $8,331.

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