Virginia Tech Boosting Tuition 9.4%

Brace yourselves. Here comes the onslaught of massive tuition-and-fees hikes from Virginia’s institutions of higher education. Virginia Tech has just announced that it will raise tuition and fees from $15,879 per year to $17,365 — an increase of 9.3%. (See press release.)

Tech’s board of visitors placed the blame largely upon to declining state support — and not without reason. From the Virginia Tech press release:

State funding for Virginia Tech remains well below that of 10 years ago, even though our enrollment and programs have grown significantly. State funding for Virginia Tech’s educational division has plunged from $182 million in 2000-01 to $131 million in 2011-12,” said [President Charles] Steger.

State support per in-state student at Virginia Tech is less than half today, once adjusted for inflation, than it was a decade ago. The state’s share of Virginia Tech’s educational cost has dropped from 58 percent in 2000-01 down to 28 percent in the coming fiscal year.

Here’s what goes unanswered in the press release: What were tuition and fees 10 years ago? How much have they increased over the same period? How much has administrative overhead increased during that period? What has been the trend for average teaching load? What are the trend lines for faculty/student ratios and the employee/student ratios?

I doubt that Tech is any more culpable of unjustified tuition hikes than any other Virginia university. The same questions should be posed to every public institution of higher learning in the state.

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