DCC Reacts to Community College Tuition Increases

Danville, VA - Community colleges are increasing tuition across the state next year. But some people who are heading to campus in the fall say that extra money will really add up.

The increase is about $5.50 per credit hour. But compared to increases in the past, this is a very modest change.

In just a matter of months, Stacy Drye will be on her way to her dream job. She plans to start Danville Community College's nursing program in the fall.

"It's always been a passion of mine. I've had family members as registered nurses for as long as I can remember and I just want to follow in their footsteps," said Drye.

But now, a barrier has been put in that path. The Virginia state board for community colleges voted last week to increase tuition by 4.4%. For a full time student, that means around $165 more per year.

"When you are out here working full time and trying to go to school full time, it's going to make it harder," said Drye.

DCC President, Dr. Carlyle Ramsey, says it's never easy to increase tuition. But he says the benefits should outweigh the costs. DCC will get nearly half a million dollars more a year because of these increases and they plan to use it to add faculty and increase their Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Healthcare program or STEM-H.

"These are areas where students have a decent chance in finding employment," said Ramsey.

Ramsey doesn't want these tuition hikes to deter students from getting a good education.

"I think most students can absorb that and those who cannot...there is aid available," said Ramsey.

Even with financial aid, Drye will have to work that much now harder to get her diploma but she knows it will all be worth it.

For DCC, this extra money also means that more courses will be offered and there will be more flexibility with scheduling.

It's not just community colleges hiking prices. Other universities including Virginia Tech and UVA are also upping the cost.