George Mason Tuition, Fees to Rise 9.8 Percent

By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 8, 2008

George Mason University is the latest Virginia school to announce a nearly 10 percent increase in mandatory costs for students, as schools set tuition rates for next year after state budget cuts.

Tuition and fees at GMU will jump 9.8 percent next year for undergraduates from Virginia, school officials announced yesterday. Earlier this week, Virginia Tech announced that tuition and mandatory fees will increase nearly 11 percent for in-state students. And at the University of Virginia, tuition and mandatory fees will rise more than 9 percent.

All three schools said that declining state funding and the need to maintain academic quality gave them little choice but that financial aid will be increased.

The General Assembly had directed public schools to limit tuition increases, a nonbinding request that carried with it a financial incentive.

Nationally, tuition has been outpacing inflation for many years. Last year, public four-year universities increased costs by an average of 6.6 percent, according to the College Board.

"I think it's a shame that tuition has to go up," said Zack Golden, a junior at George Mason who will be student body president next year, "but with Richmond's budget problems and the reduced funding that Mason got from them," some students were expecting a bigger increase than usual. "Honestly, I think Richmond has to do a better job of managing their budget and making higher education a priority. Students obviously are strapped as it is. . . . I'm certain that most people won't be happy about it."

He said the student government will push next year to find out about tuition increases sooner so that students and their families can plan their budgets.

For the 2008-09 academic year at GMU, tuition and fees for in-state undergraduates will go up $672, to $7,512. Out-of-state costs will increase 9.7 percent to $21,648.

The school is one of Virginia's fastest-growing institutions of higher learning. Board of Visitors Rector Ernst Volgenau said in a statement, "George Mason must have its needs balanced against the realities of maintaining the highest level of standards in order to provide our students and region with outstanding faculty and the best facilities we can."

At Virginia Tech, tuition and mandatory fees will increase $801, to $8,198 for in-state undergraduates. For out-of-state students, costs will go up more than 5 percent, to $20,825.

At U-Va., tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduates will rise to $9,300. Out-of-state charges will go up nearly 7 percent, to $29,600.

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