New data obtained by The Flat Hat from the College’s budget offices indicates that many in-state students from the 2008-2009 school year may be able to afford the increases in tuition the College of William and Mary will probably be forced to make over the next few years. Again, we wade into the rough waters and reiterate our call to have in-state students pay a greater portion of the new tuition burden than they have in the past. While difficult, this is the fair and prudent option.
The College was able to take a peek at the finances of all families who apply for financial aid, and what they saw was surprising: Of those in-state students who were deemed non-needy, the median amount each was able to afford in college costs was $37,204 per year. This figure indicates that many in-state students are able — or nearly able — to afford out-of-state costs, and it could be an indication that the tuition tolerance for in-state students is well above where current tuition levels are set.
Raising tuition on out-of-state students has allowed the College to hide Richmond’s decisions to underfund the commonwealth’s universities from its voters. It is time to push the burden back onto the voting population so that our representatives will be forced to account for their decisions. The best way to do this is in tandem with other state schools, and with a simultaneous increase in financial aid to account for those on the margin. With any luck, Richmond will find a way to provide the funding necessary to protect the stature of higher education in this state.