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Virginia lawmakers freeze in-state tuition

By Imajae Johnson

Incoming college freshmen could see a change in their debt due to the freeze on in-state tuition. Virginia lawmakers have a proposed a bill that would put a cap on the amount students pay for in-state tuition, and it will not change throughout their four years at a college or university.

The proposed bill would lock in the tuition rate, but room and board could still increase. In the last decade, tuition and fees at the University of Virginia, Christopher Newport University, The College of William and Mary and Virginia Common Wealth University have tripled.

Democratic Delegate, David Reid, who introduced the bill, took to Twitter to express how he feels about the situation. He said, “Virginia families should not be falling into debt for a public education, That’s unacceptable.”

Those opposed to the bill note possible obstacles that could arise.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the state agency that make education public policy recommendations, raised several concerns about a bill.

Norfolk news station, 13News, now interviewed Peter Blake, Director of the State Council of Higher of Education for Virginia. He said, “universities, not lawmakers, should decide whether or not to increase tuition. They are at different starting points as to what they charge students currently and what their capacity is to increase tuition.”

The sides are completely different on what to do with in-state tuition, but what about the side of the students?

“Having tuition to stay the same all four years would be great, and it wouldn’t cause me to go into major debt,” Norfolk State freshman, Mark Johnson said.

The bill would be for the Class of 2021 and shows the public that representatives in Congress are speaking on student’s behalf.

That’s exactly what Republican State Senator Frank Wager of Virginia Beach is doing.

On the final day of the 2017 General Assembly session, Senator Wager told officials, “We have to stop balancing the budget on the backs of Virginia’s college students. The national student debt tops one trillion dollars. We have to get serious about keeping the costs of college affordable for Virginia’s families so that when college students graduate they have an opportunity to improve their lives without the yoke of massive debt holding them back.”

Recently, lawmakers decided to put a hold on the bill to reassess its financial impact. The bill will be re-introduced next session.