College tuition hits record high in Virginia - - Richmond, VA News

College tuition hits record high in Virginia

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It's never been as expensive to go to college as it is right now. According to a new study, less state and federal money, plus rising tuition costs, put college at a record high.

Virginia colleges are among the most expensive in the country. Public colleges here cost as much as some private universities. But Governor McDonnell has a plan and money in place to change that over the next year.

VCU senior Travis Wood will soon have his four year degree - and tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Wood has seen his tuition bill go up by about nine percent each year. That's an extra $2,000. He has a student loan and works, but now, he says, that doesn't cut it.

"I had to get my parents to take out a parent loan, which they can't afford," said Wood.

A new study shows college students in Virginia pay more than most students outside the Commonwealth. That's because state funding decreased while tuition increased from 2007 to 2012.

Wood saw the effects. Between text books and tuition, money is always on his mind.

"I thought about taking a year off, just to work, but at the same time, I've made it this far," said Wood.

The study also shows Virginia has turned a corner. This past fall, state funding for higher education increased for the first time in five years.

"That was because of those historic reinvestments in our higher education institutions," said Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash.

Governor Bob McDonnell announced in April, he would reappropriate $350 million into higher ed. He also put pressure on state colleges like UVA, Virginia Tech and VCU to lower their tuition rates.

While tuition is still increasing, it's increasing by a lesser amount.

For Wood, that's welcome news, but that doesn't mean he's going to quit that second job anytime soon.

Secretary Fornash says, while tuition continues to increase, so will state funding. The goal: to make college affordable and accessible to everyone in the Commonwealth.

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