May 28, 2019
Partners in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: A Q&A with Dr. James Toscano on college affordability

As Virginia continues to experience a wave of tuition freezes this year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch featured Partners’ president Dr.James Toscano in a Q&A about college affordability on their editorial page.

According to Toscano, the recent action by state lawmakers to allocate over $50 million in new state funding for tuition moderation is a “temporary,” but “very significant” step towards controlling the rising cost of tuition in Virginia.  In the feature, Toscano also compares state and national trends, discusses the impact of tuition freezes on other student fees and housing rates, and highlights a new state law requiring Boards of Visitors to hold public comment periods ahead of tuition decisions, and reflects on his experience as a student trustee at Old Dominion University.

The General Assembly this year allocated $52.5 million in new state money for public colleges and universities that agree to freeze in-state, undergraduate tuition for the coming academic year. What kind of a step is this toward controlling tuition?
It’s a temporary step — but a very significant one. There’s nothing stopping or incentivizing Virginia public colleges from returning to their old habits for the school year that begins in fall 2020. So, this could end up as a one-time breather from annual rising tuition. But it’s very significant in that, not only is $52.5 million real money that Virginia families can keep in their pockets that they otherwise would have paid in tuition, but it also sets a precedent that solutions, however temporary, can be found if we put consumers first. Virginia can permanently address the problem by legislating a cap on tuition increases while fixing the root causes — unstable appropriations and runaway costs — resulting in smarter spending by institutions.

Read the full Q&A HERE!