Virginia has some of the most expensive tuition and fee rates in the country, and government funding is falling. In 2001, students paid 23% of the cost of public higher education and the state paid the remaining 77%. But government contributions have declined over the past two decades. In 2019, students paid about half the cost of higher education, with the state paying the other half.
The high cost leads to high debt. More than half of students in the state’s public four-year schools are in debt, and one in four owes more than $ 50,000.
Students who graduate from Virginia’s two public historically black universities, Norfolk State and Virginia State, have some of the highest debts; 90% of them are in debt and half owe more than $ 40,000.
Fewer students at William & Mary and the University of Virginia graduate in debt, and those who graduate have less debt.
Former Governor Doug Wilder urged the state to give each of the state’s four HBCUs $ 50 million out of $ 50 million from the rescue plan. Funding the HBCU should be a priority, Dannenberg said.
The SCHEV is currently investigating the financing of schools. This year’s budget allocated $ 300,000 to a review of college costs, funding needs, funds, and efficiency. The review will also look at the impact of funding on underrepresented student groups. A preliminary report is due in December and a final report by July 2022.