Up 9.3 Percent — But Still Cheaper than Harvard

Tuition and fees for undergraduates at Virginia’s four-year colleges increased an average of 9.3 percent, reports the Associated Press. Room and board charges, about half the cost of a college education, increased “only” 6.0 percent.

The Consumer Price Index from June 2005 to June 2006 increased 4.5 percent. The cost of food and beverages was up 2.2 percent and housing 4.2 percent over the same period.

We’ve heard all the excuses about tuition increases — education is a labor-intensive business, and colleges have to compete for academic talent. But how about room and board? How can room and board at Virginia colleges be increasing at twice the rate of inflation in food and housing?

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6 responses to “Up 9.3 Percent — But Still Cheaper than Harvard”

  1. nova_middle_man Avatar

    This is somewhat similar to the growth discussions. The upfront capitol costs of campus exapansions account for a large chunk and the other major factor is rising energy costs which affect everything from heating and cooling of dorms and classrooms to costing more to transport all the “food” to the “dining” facilities.

    Of course if prices keep increaing more and more people will wise up and look to doing general education at community colleges and explore the booming business of online higher education.

    One last thing tuition and fee increases were/are much lower for Virginia residents as opposed to out-of-state students.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Nova Middle Man, That sounds like a fairly reasonable explanation. I know that here in Richmond, VCU is building dormitories like mad as it converts from a commuter campus to a significantly residential campus. The university doesn’t have a base of old, amortized dormitories to average down the cost of new construction. I wouldn’t be surprised if VCU by itself is constructing enough dormitories to skew the statewide figures…. It would be interesting to get a break-down of what VCU is charging for room and board.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    How much has the cost of beer increased, compared to other campus costs?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Maybe we are charging too much for out os state students. We use incentives to lure businesses from out of state. Wouldn’t out of state students also bring in a susbstantial amount of otherwise out of state revenue? And wouldn’t quite a bit of that be in addition to the costs of education?

    Seems like we may be missing out on a nice net positive.

  5. NoVA Scout Avatar
    NoVA Scout

    Anonymous: As the father of a student who just made a decision to attend a big, but academically respectable out-of-state football school located miles and miles from anywhere, as opposed to a big, but academically respectable in-state football school miles and miles from anywhere, I can tell you that our out-of-state fees are reasonable (at elast comparatively) and that, at least for the top tier of Virginia Schools, you could probably increase the out-of-state tuition by 50% and still have a bumper crop of qualified applicants. In the meantime, I don’t have any problem (other than my immediate selfish one) with the policy of paying more for out-of-state students. Their parents have not borne the tax costs of support over the years. Ideally, you want a state university system so highly regarded that you can always fill your expected slots for out-of-state students at a high premium at all your schools in the sytem. To do that, you have to be sure that the the public investment in the schools is sufficient to sustain an excellent national reputation.

  6. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    One more factor to be considered in altering the mix of in and outstate students. A significant number of parents of NoVA students believe, rightly or wrongly, that Virginia’s universities already unfairly limit the number of qualified NoVA students. A proposal that might increase limits should consider this factor as well.

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