The University of Virginia will hike tuition by a whopping 11 percent next year, one of the highest growth rates in the country.
However, officials say the move is intended to make the university more affordable, not less.
Starting next year, in-state tuition and fees for incoming undergraduate students will spike from $12,998 to $14,468. There will be a flat $1,000 tuition increase coupled with a 3.6 percent raise to deal with inflation and rising expenses. Nor will the growth slow down then, as the board of regents has approved an additional tuition boost of $1,000 for the 2016-17 school year which is also expected to be paired with a 3.5 percent annual increase. (RELATED: Yeah, About That UVA Gang Rape Story)
Some surges are even more dramatic. Graduate-level programs at the university’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, for instance, will have tuition rise by over 38 percent, a surge so dramatic the regents described it as a “tuition reset.”
So, why are the school’s regents making the university so much more expensive? Naturally, to make it cheaper.
Along with the tuition hikes, the board also enacted new policies they claim will enable the school to become more affordable for both low and middle-income students in the state. Previously, Virginia students from low-income households were expected to borrow up to $14,000 to finance their education. UVA’s regents voted Tuesday to lower that maximum to $4,000. Similarly, a borrowing cap of $28,000 for some middle-income families will be cut to $18,000. (RELATED: Did Cops Hospitalize A UVA Student Over A Fake ID?)
The strategy, described as “high tuition/high aid,” makes UVA similar to some elite private universities. Schools like Harvard, for instance, couple sky-high tuition of over $40,000 with generous financial aid that spares lower-income families from having to take out any loans to attend.
The burden of paying for this approach will fall on households at higher income levels, which will pay another $8,000 for four years of schooling while being unlikely to qualify for financial aid.
Even some of the supposed beneficiaries aren’t ready to trust the university, however. According to NBC 29, The tuition increases spurred protests from student activists, who complained that UVA is growing less and less accessible to minorities and the poor.
“Ten years ago we had 10 percent population of black students on Grounds, which is still low and I’m not happy about it. But now it’s down to 5.6 [percent] and if trends continue this will be a school for white affluent students and no one else,” sophomore John Sylvester told NBC 29.
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