VCU hikes tuition and fees nearly 4%

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Prepare to pay more! The cost of tuition just went up at VCU.

The Board of Visitors unanimously approved a $920 million budget for 2012-2013.

It includes a tuition hike.

For the upcoming school year in-state undergraduate students will shell out an extra $368 a year.

The increase is the smallest at VCU in more than decade.

Despite what's being called a modest increase some students are not happy their education will cost more.

"I hate to hear that tuition is going up," said student Christine Dillion.

Jonathan Walker is a rising senior -- with check in hand he's headed to pay for a summer class.

"Summer tuition is $1,169. It's a little much for one class in my opinion.  My family will pay it but it's a real burden on them," said Walker.

The university said the tuition increase balances the needs of students and the needs of the university.

"Our tuition, even with this increase, remains slightly below average for all of the state universities — yet we're 1 of 3 major research universities," said VCU spokeswoman, Pam Lepley.

The university said money generated from the increase will be used to support research and academic quality.

"It will be used for faculty so we can add extra sections and ensure students graduate on time and hopefully that will save some money as well," Lepley added.

Governor Bob McDonnell is providing nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to public universities to help keep costs down.

He said the increase is the smallest at VCU in 11 years and calls it a step forward in making college more affordable and accessible.

Back on campus senior,  Huma Haq,  is graduating with student loans totaling thousands of dollars -- but she said her education is worth the price.

"That's the price you pay," said Haq.

The board approved several other tuition rate increases including those for advanced degrees.

One of the largest increases outlined in the budget is for in-state students in the school of dentistry.

Tuition will jump by $3100.

Out-of-state undergraduates will pay an additional $963 a year.

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NBC12 is investigating the amount of college debt students are incurring at Virginia colleges. Rachel DePompa will have a report on NBC12 at 11:00 p.m.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.