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2017-18 Tuition & Fee Report

A key goal of The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, the statewide strategic plan, is to provide affordable higher-education access for all. The alignment of state appropriations, financial aid, and tuition and fees is critical to achieving this goal.


The average tuition and mandatory fees for instruction-related activities for in-state undergraduate students will increase by $422 (5.4%) in the 2017-18 academic year. That means an average increase of $437 (5.3%) at four-year institutions and $120 (2.7%) at community colleges. In comparison, these charges increased by 4.6% last year. 

Tuition and all mandatory fees — including athletic, student health service, and student government fees — will increase $546 (4.8%). This compares to last year’s increase of 4.6%. In total including room and board charges, Virginia undergraduate students will pay on average $860 (3.9%) more at four-year institutions. The increase in this total is the lowest in 16 years.

2017-18 full-time in-state undergraduate student charges: 

table - 2017-18 full-time in-state undergraduate student charges


The Commonwealth has an official tuition policy premised on the rationale that higher education yields both public and private benefits. However, there is an inverse relationship between state funding and the rate at which tuition has increased at Virginia’s public higher-education institutions. When the state provides additional support to public higher education, institutions are better able to control the rate at which they increase tuition. When the state reduces its funding, institutions increase tuition to help offset budget cuts. The chart below depicts the average annual increase in tuition and mandatory E&G fees for in-state undergraduate students over the past 18 years.

Chart - annual increase rate at Virginia public institutions - tuition and mandatory instructional fees.


The Commonwealth established a funding policy goal of a 67%/33% cost share between the state and students in 2004. The state reached its highest level support at 77% in 2001-02. A combination of budget cuts and tuition increases has reduced the state’s share of the cost since 2002. In FY2018 the state is expected to pay 47% while the student share is estimated at 53%, matching a record high and making the state’s share 20 percentage points lower than the target of 67%.

Chart of share of costs of postsecondary education in Virginia - state share and student share.


Besides instruction-related activities, institutions manage fees charged for self-supported services such as student-life related activities, room and board. The chart shows institutions can manage fee revenue well and have a better control in annual fee increases in comparison of the relationship between state support and tuition increases.

Annual increases in student cost by type at 4-Yr Institutions


In 2017-18, in-state undergraduate tuition and fees at Virginia public institutions are estimated to rank ninth-highest in the nation for the doctoral/research category. Tuition and fees at the comprehensive institutions are expected to rank 4th highest nationally. Charges at Virginia two-year colleges have steadily increased since 2000, setting new historical levels over the last five years. Tuition and fees at Virginia two-year colleges are estimated to rank seventh-highest nationally in FY2018. 

Table of Virginia's rank in higher-ed cost among all states


As a percentage of per-capita disposable income (income available for spending and saving), the average total cost for an in-state undergraduate student living on campus at a four-year institution is estimated at 47.7% in FY2018 (see Chart 5). This measure of affordability has crept steadily higher from a low point (more affordable) of 31.4% in FY2002 and has surpassed the historical peak (least affordable) of 47% set last year. The trend line for our two-year institutions is similar.

Undergraduate charges per capita for Virginia's four-year publics


(Click image for larger view)

Appendix B Full Time In State Undergrad Student Charges

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