The difference is far less than many families assume, thanks to significant institutional, merit, and need-based grants as well as the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG). According to a recent study by the Human Capital Research Corporation, the average price gap between a Virginia private and public college is only $4,700 (after grant aid from all sources).
Virginia private colleges continue to enroll students from all income levels, including a higher percentage of federal Pell Grant recipients (typically students from families with incomes of $40,000 or less) than public colleges. Studies show that students attending private colleges, on average, have a similar family income as those attending public colleges.
Approximately 95% of first-year students at Virginia’s private colleges demonstrated need and received some form of financial aid, with average federal, state, institutional grant aid awarded of $38,750. Virginia residents attending an in-state private college also receive the undergraduate VTAG award. Federal tax credits and deductions can benefit some of those who do not receive grant aid.
Not necessarily. After taking financial aid into consideration most students pay considerably less than the published tuition at a private college. Grants from all sources and federal tax benefits reduce the price of tuition by a national average of $16,000.
There are many forms of financial assistance available that are not merit or need-based, including institutional grants and state grants, as well as work-study programs. According to a recent study, institutional grants constitute the largest source of financial assistance for students attending Virginia private colleges.
A typical college graduate with a bachelor’s degree will earn nearly 66% more than a high school graduate over their lifetime. Education loans are typically available at low-interest rates, with post-graduation repayment plans of up to 10 years.
Virginia 529 plans can be used at Virginia private colleges. All four savings programs offered by The Virginia College Savings Plan can be used at Virginia private colleges.
Virginia private colleges enroll a higher percentage of African-American undergraduates than Virginia’s public institutions. They also enroll a higher percentage of Pell Grant recipients who receive federal need-based aid.
The benefits of a private liberal arts college are more valuable than ever. Students learn to think and communicate effectively – attributes sought by employers in all professions.
Virginia private colleges offer undergraduate science programs. Small private colleges offer smaller class sizes and fewer students, allowing for more hands-on learning and student/faculty interaction. In addition, most Virginia private colleges offer opportunities for undergraduate students to assist faculty with research projects.
Since 2000, Virginia private colleges have created 40 new health profession programs. Eighteen Virginia private colleges now offer high-quality, health-related degree programs.
The best way to master any field is a combination of classroom and hands-on learning. Virginia’s private colleges promote active student participation beyond coursework, including specialized projects and undergraduate research.
In-person visits before you apply, and again after you have been admitted, are the only way to ensure you’ve made the best decision. Please check out Virginia Private College Week and the Virginia Private College Visit Calendar to schedule your visits.