Roanoke College

Virginia Private Colleges Remain Affordable in Today's Economy

  • Virginia Private Colleges Remain Affordable in Today's Economy

  • 01/19/09
  • Salem, VA--At 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 24, Roanoke College invites prospective students and parents to campus for a special WRAP Session (Within Reach and Personal). Roanoke joins 24 other undergraduate private colleges across Virginia in offering this session, which will focus on reassuring families that even during times of economic uncertainty, Virginia's private colleges remain within reach financially and provide a valuable, personal education.

    The WRAP Sessions, sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, will focus on alleviating some of the tuition stress felt by families and will include a presentation aimed at dispelling some common myths about the cost of a private college education:

    Myth #1: Tuition at a private college is beyond reach, and a state school always costs less.

    Reality: Many students pay considerably less than the published tuition price at a private college. The difference between public and private college tuition is far less than many families assume, thanks to significant merit- and need-based grants and the state's Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG). Last year, private colleges awarded more than $270 million in grants and scholarships.

    Myth #2: It's easy for a high income family to afford a private college education. It's much more difficult for a middle-class family.

    Reality: Now more than ever, private colleges are protecting their financial aid budgets and enrolling students from all income levels. In fact, national studies have shown that students attending private colleges, on average, have a similar family income as those attending public colleges. In Virginia, private colleges enroll a higher percentage of federal Pell Grant recipients (typically students from families with incomes of $40,000 or less) and minority students than public colleges.

    Myth #3: Public or private college - it doesn't make any difference.

    Reality: Parents should compare the time it takes to graduate as well as overall graduation rates, class size, student/faculty ratio and personal attention received by students. Private colleges rank favorably in all of these areas.

    Myth #4: There will be less assistance from government sources.

    Reality: Last month, Governor Kaine's proposed budget protected funding for the undergraduate TAG award, which provides an annual grant of $3,200 to Virginia residents attending a private college in the state. Furthermore, federal loans and grants are unlikely to be affected by the recession.

    CICV president Robert Lambeth said, "The weakening economy has not weakened the quality and value of a private college education in Virginia. We understand the financial concerns facing families. However, I would regret students not choosing the college that is the best fit for them because of anxiety about affordability. We want to help, and we urge families to talk to us first before making a final decision."

    For more information about CICV or the WRAP Sessions, go to To participate in the WRAP Session at Roanoke College, please call 800-388-2276 or (540) 375-2270. Registrations also may be e-mailed to

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