Virginia’s four-year public universities provided $188 million in institutional & financial aid to in-state students in the 2015-2016 school year, according to data provided by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV). This represents university funds only, excluding federal, state and private sources. Virginia colleges divvied up the sum between nearly 44,000 students. The average dispensation: about $4,300 per recipient.
Now, compare that to what Virginia universities provided out-of-state students.
Almost as much money — $164 million — for only 13,700 out-of-state students. Average dispensation: almost $12,000 per student. That’s more than $7,600 more than the average in-state student gets.
Here’s another way of looking at it. Virginia’s public universities doled out totals ranging between 33% and three times more to out-of-state students than in-state students. The ratio varied widely between Christopher Newport, which treated in/out-of-states most equally, and Old Dominion University, which showed the greatest disparity.
What’s going on? Why would Virginia institutions treat out-of-state students so handsomely? Part of the reason is that they charge non-Virginians higher tuition — about $16,000 per student more, on average, across the higher ed system. If they pay greater tuition, their financial need may be greater.
Another part of the story is that out-of-state students, on average, are more desirable to Virginia universities. Either they have higher SAT scores or they meet university goals for recruiting low-income or minority students. These factors affect an institution’s prestige in relationship to its peers
Legislation before the General Assembly this session would forbid colleges from using in-state tuition revenues to pay for financial aid and would restrict the amount of out-of-state tuition that could be applied to financial aid. Tuition- and financial aid-reform bills have been bottled up in the state Senate Finance Committee by Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-Williamsburg.
Norment is both a graduate and employee of the College of William & Mary, which doles out financial aid worth an astonishing $18,000 on average to out-of-state students. (Of course, their cost of attendance is a mind-blowing $55,000.)
It’s not clear from the SCHEV data how much, if any, financial aid comes from tuition on students paying the full freight. But one thing is indisputable: Out-of-state students are getting a lot more financial aid than in-state students. Which raises the question: Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t Virginia universities be giving more assistance to Virginia students?There are currently no comments highlighted.