May 7, 2019
Partners Responds to W&M Board's Tuition Rate Decision


Friday, November 16, 2018

CONTACT: Stacie Gordon

RICHMOND, VA - Today, Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust released a statement by their State Advocacy Manager, Stacie Gordon, in response to a decision made by the College of William & Mary's Board of Visitors to increase the guaranteed tuition and fee rates for incoming freshman and undergraduate transfer students for the 2019-2020 academic year.

"Over the past decade, William & Mary has increased in-state, undergraduate tuition and fee rates by a staggering 128 percent, the highest increase for Virginia's public institutions, and well above the average of 79 percent.  

"William & Mary's board members ought to be commended for recognizing incremental increases in state funding and reining-in projected tuition and fee increases accordingly, but William & Mary continues to boast the highest sticker price in the state.

"And while most undergraduates may not end up paying the full price due to grant awards, studies have shown that high published prices discourage low- to middle-income students from applying.

"At the end of the day, the William & Mary Promise may provide predictability, but that's hardly the same thing as affordability.

"Indeed, it's common in higher education for schools to publish high tuition and fee rates and then put tuition revenue towards financial aid for those who need it.  But the fact that William & Mary has both the highest sticker price and the lowest percentage of Pell-eligible students of Virginia's public institutions – 11 percent - begs the question of whether premium pricing coupled with tuition discounting gets the job done.

"In fact, a recent report by New America ranked William & Mary as the least socioeconomically diverse public college in the country.

"While the State Board of Higher Education in Virginia does not currently track the price students pay by income level, reporting this information on a routine basis would provide a clearer picture of the effects of a high tuition-high aid model on Virginia's students and those paying the bills."

Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving higher education affordability, transparency and quality. We give voice to the students and families who pay for the rising cost of college — but rarely have a seat at the policy-making table. We advocate for common sense policies and practices that will ensure that students graduate with less debt and are better equipped to make good on higher education's promise of economic mobility. Learn more at