News Archive

Affordability and Benefit of Private College Topic of Special Event

Virginia private colleges join together to offer sessions on the affordability of private higher education

1/8/2009 9:17:16 AM


LYNCHBURGRandolph College will join other private colleges around the state in opening its doors Jan. 24 to prospective students and parents for discussions about the benefit and affordability of private colleges . The open sessions will begin at 10 a.m.

Randolph is one of 25 undergraduate private colleges across Virginia offering this special session, named WRAP (Within Reach and Personal). The purpose of the event is to remind and reassure families that even during times of economic uncertainty, Virginiaprivate colleges remain within reach financially and provide a valuable, personal education. Randolph admissions and financial aid counselors will be on hand to meet with students and parents and answer questions during the event.

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

1. Myth: 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 Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG). Last year, private colleges awarded more than $270 million in grants and scholarships.

2. Myth: 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.

3. Myth: 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 will rank favorably.

4. Myth: 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.

For more information about CICV or the WRAP Sessions go to

To participate in the WRAP Session at Randolph College, please visit, call 434-947-8100 or toll-free 800-745-7692 or email

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations