That’s the central question being discussed below. As the University of Virginia contemplates a rise in the cost of tuition, Governor Bob McDonnell has suggested the possibility of a differential tuition.

Catherine Cho of the Virginia Advocate reports.

Tuition on the Rise Again?

UVa may yet again see an increase in tuition sometime in the near future. According to Ted Strong of The Daily Progress, Governor Bob McDonnell urges not only UVa, but also other Virginia colleges to keep the increase percentage costs of tuition low. Last year, Virginia colleges saw an average increase in tuition of about 4%. UVa falls right at the average with a 3.7% increase for in-state students while there was a 4% increase for out-of-state students. Governor Bob McDonnell’s call to keep tuition increases low suggests the inevitable rising costs of tuition, but he also suggests the implementation of differential tuition.

Differential tuition was currently implemented here at UVa in February 2011 through the commerce school. McDonnell suggests that “Some degrees, he said, cost more for the school, but also offer students expanded earnings potential after they graduate, so it’s reasonable to charge students more for them.” Although starting salaries of students vary upon their completed degrees, the question lies with what other factors can contribute to the differential tuition.

Should each specialized schools such as the Architecture, Engineering, or any other schools within UVa be subject to this type of tuition categorization? What if students after graduation are not able to meet the expected earnings? What about in the case of a student transferring to a different school within the University? Should the differential tuition be solely based on a future salary or should specialized resources, equipment, and technology specific to an individual student’s field of study be taken into account towards tuition cost as well? This categorization can in some ways help distribute costs of the University, but also poses many issues and questions.