Come fall, community college students across Virginia will be forking out more cash for classes. The State Board for Community Colleges voted Thursday night to increase the in-state tuition and mandatory fees rate by 4.4 percent.
The tuition hike might be bad news for students, but Piedmont Virginia Community College officials say it's good news for the school's budget - and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Anggely Dowson just signed up for an introductory computer class at PVCC. The 3-hour summer course cost her $367 - but come fall it will cost about $16 more.
"I support my family too, in my country, so my budget is kind of tight," said Dowson.
Currently a credit costs $117. Come fall, it will cost $122.50. The $5.50 increase per credit hour will cost the typical full-time student an additional $165 a school year.
PVCC spokesperson Anita Showers says the money will help pay operating expenses at the Jefferson School Center and its Greene County locations.
"Electricity, staffing, cleaning, we have to pay for faculty salary when they teach classes at those localities," said Showers.
Showers says the extra tuition money will also pay the salaries of just-hired staff for the school's new culinary arts degree program. It will also help foot the bill for new faculty hired to teach at the college's engineering program.
"It's needed obviously and it will be put to good use," said Showers.
Showers say she doesn't think the tuition hike will have a large impact on enrollment numbers.
"The tuition and fees at Virginia community colleges are still about one-third the cost of what you would pay at a public college or university in Virginia, so it's still very affordable and you're getting an excellent education," said Showers.
In-state students aren't the only ones affected. Tuition rates for out-of-state students also increased by $5.50 - bringing it to $324.60 a credit hour.
The tuition hikes go into effect fall 2013.