Growing by just 2.1 percent, Longwood University’s tuition and fees increased by the smallest percentage of any public four-year college in Virginia, according to data released Wednesday by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

The average increase in undergraduate tuition and fees across the commonwealth is 5.2 percent, more than double Longwood’s increase. That translates to an average increase of $544 across the 14 other state schools for the 2014-15 academic year, compared with Longwood’s increase of $240.

"College is what energizes the American dream, and it is a moral issue that it remain affordable," said President W. Taylor Reveley IV. "The rising student loan debt of recent years is unsustainable by students and families. We are choosing a path that’s better for students and for Longwood: to invest in ensuring that every student who comes to Longwood gets strong support to stay on track and graduate."

Citing record enrollment, a successful capital campaign and progress keeping more students on track toward a timely degree, Longwood’s Board of Visitors in March approved the 2.1 percent increase—the smallest of any Virginia public university in more than a decade.

Tuition charges, which fund educational expenses, will increase 7.4 percent, however that increase is largely offset by a 4.9 percent reduction in mandatory student fees, which support all other areas of the university, such as information technology, athletics and student services. As part of a simplified fee structure, undergraduates will pay a standard comprehensive fee per credit hour, regardless of whether the course is delivered on campus, online or at offsite locations.

Charges will be reduced for the vast majority of students, and bills and cost planning will be simplified. The new structure also provides a fairer means of funding services and activities that are supported by the comprehensive fee.

In 2014-15, tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduates will be $11,580 per year, based on a full course load of 30 credits. The comparable cost for out-of-state undergraduate students is $23,350.

"Longwood is on the rise," said Reveley. "We’ve recently completed a $41 million capital campaign. Enrollment is at a record high. Big data is helping us strengthen our operations, and we are confident that our focus on retention will pay off both for our students and the institution." Last fall, Longwood received an A1 bond rating from Moody’s—reflecting a level of financial strength enjoyed by only 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities.

Longwood University is in the midst of celebrating its 175th anniversary. It is one of the 100 oldest colleges and universities in the nation, and the third-oldest public university in Virginia, following the College of William & Mary and the University of Virginia. Founded in 1839, Longwood is dedicated to the development of citizen leaders who are prepared to make positive contributions to the common good of society. It also provides the highest percentage of courses taught by full-time professors of any public university in Virginia.

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