Virginia’s colleges and universities are one the best assets we’ve got and many of them are top flight, global institutions. Unfortunately, we stopped supporting the system adequately. Our community colleges and four-year schools are all underfunded and this is pushing higher education out of reach for too many Virginians. Average tuition and fees for four year colleges have increased from $4,468 in the ’07-’08 academic year to $6,501 in the ’12-’13 academic year. This is a 45% increase in tuition and fees in just five years.
I’ve traveled around the Commonwealth visiting our community colleges and one thing I consistently hear is that if we give the leadership of these institutions more autonomy to make budget decisions, they will be able to find a greater value. That will mean more resources going into training the workforce of tomorrow instead of overhead.
It’s time for us to focus on giving our colleges and universities the tools they need to succeed and keep tuition low and financial aid high.