Staff Editorial: Tuition increase merited

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April 25, 2007

2:03 AM

Students and parents may be dismayed that the Board of Visitors has recently decided to raise the College’s tuition rates for the next academic year, upping the cost for Virginia residents to over $16,000 per year and increasing out-of-state tuition to nearly $35,000. While these figures and headlines appear startling, they are part of a nation-wide trend of rising tuitions and costs. For example, the University of Virginia recently raised its tuition and living rates by similar percentages, and at certain private schools, including George Washington University, overall costs will exceed $50,000 next year.

p. In reality, the College continues to be a good value for all students and their families. The increases in tuition rates have been accompanied by various initiatives that have enhanced diversity, particularly Gateway William and Mary, which has made it easier for first-generation college students and students from low-income families to attend the College. Next year’s freshman class features a record number of first-generation students. Such efforts at diversifying the campus will assure that the College remains competitive and on par with other top-notch public and private universities throughout the United States.

p. The College remains a relative bargain, particularly since the total amount of money that the College spends per student — including professor salaries and academic and athletic facilities — far exceeds what each student annually pays to attend the College. The administration and the BOV must ensure that such a raise in tuition is accompanied by continued efforts to improve current financial aid options. This will ensure that an education from the College is potentially available to anyone, particularly those on whom these tuition increases have placed a significant financial burden.

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