“This is the exact outcome we all hoped for.”
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox and House Republican leaders on Wednesday commended Virginia’s public colleges and universities for unanimously freezing tuition for the 2019-2020 school year. Recently Longwood University became the final public school to announce they would not raise tuition costs for the upcoming school year. This follows the Republican-led General Assembly prioritizing college affordability with a significant investment in our higher education institutions.
“This is the exact outcome we all hoped for,” said Speaker Cox (R – Colonial Heights). “I applaud our colleges and universities for stepping up to the plate and working alongside us in our effort to make college more affordable and more accessible to those who wish to attend. I want to thank our Appropriations Committee and Chairman Chris Jones for their hard work in including the incentivized funding in this years budget.”
This year’s budget included $57.5 million for colleges to freeze their tuition for in-state students. Every school has now agreed to freeze tuition for in-state students; additionally Christopher Newport University, George Mason University, Norfolk State University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University and Radford University, are also freezing out-of-state tuition.
“Traveling through my community, I hear time and time again from students who say their loans will follow them throughout most of their life,” said House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones (R – Suffolk). “When we started crafting this year’s budget I did so with those students in mind, knowing we had a real opportunity to at least keep those loans from growing larger than they needed to. This is truly something that all Virginians should be proud of.”
Also this year, Republicans passed legislation directing colleges and universities to hold public hearings to hear from students and parents before increasing the cost of tuition or other mandatory fees.
“It’s unanimous. All of Virginia’s public four-year colleges and universities are holding the line on tuition this year, thanks to the hard work of Republicans in the House of Delegates,” said House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). “College affordability is a major focus of House Republicans and with this major achievement, the next step is to find other unique ways to lower the cost of attending college and lower the number of students leaving school with crippling debt.”
Additional legislation passed this year will lower the cost of prepaid tuition contracts by more than $3,000 on an eight-semester tuition contract.
“Hard-working, middle-class families are struggling to afford sending their children to college,” said Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax). “Higher education costs have outpaced wage growth drastically over the past 10 years. Making college more accessible and affordable has been a focus of mine since being elected. The legislature’s successes this year will ensure more Virginians can afford to continue their education.”
In addition to the funding to encourage schools to freeze tuition, the budget also increases funding for financial aid by $16 million, providing more financial assistance to those who need it.
“What we accomplished for college affordability this year is significant,” said chairman of the Higher Education Subcommittee and Majority Whip Nick Rush (R – Montgomery County). “We built a mechanism that gives schools a reason to keep tuition down and I am pleased to see our hard work pay off with 100% of our colleges and universities agreeing to keep tuition rates at their current levels.”