How come Johnny who had a straight A average in high school can’t get in to William and Mary or U.VA, Virginia’s two Ivy League-like premier universities?  Northern Virginia students are hit especially hard with this reality, since regardless of what is said, there is a quota.  If there weren’t, the premium northern Virginia schools would take up all the slots and the rest of the state would be out in the cold. 

Part of the problem has always been that out-of-state students take up slots that Virginia students would like to have.  Why are these spots give to out-of-staters?  MONEY.  The out-of-state students pay higher tuition.  The ratio of  out-of-state students to Virginia students crawls upward during hard times, like the ones we are in now.  According to the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Richmond, Va. —

The University of Virginia expects 3,246 first-year students to move in Saturday, among them 1,035 who are from out of state.

Of 1,404 freshmen who will arrive Aug. 25 at the College of William and Mary, 522 are non-Virginians.

Like their in-state peers, they’ll feel the impact of rising tuition costs — and then some.

The two schools more than comply with a state law that requires public colleges and universities to charge out-of-state students the full cost of their education.

U.Va. charges nonresidents 173 percent of the average per-student cost, while W&M charges 154 percent, according to a report last month by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

All the state’s public schools exceed the per-student cost by a statewide average of 151 percent, the report found.

But it’s the in-state, out-of-state numbers at Virginia’s two “public ivies” that draw the most attention.


For school officials, out-of-state students are an extra source of revenue for tight budgets.

This year, U.Va. expects to generate $78.9 million, or 37 percent of tuition revenue, from in-state undergraduates but $132.2 million, or 63 percent, from out-of-state undergraduates. That’s despite in-state students making up nearly 69 percent of undergraduates, spokeswoman Carol Wood said.

According to the State Council of Higher Education report, U.Va. charges an average tuition of $27,699 for nonresidents, although the calculated cost per student is $16,037. (The figures are based on enrollmentweighted tuition averages for both undergraduate and graduate students.)

W&M charges $26,257, while the average per-student cost is $17,068.

For Virginia parents, such revenue figures underlie worries that their children will lose coveted seats to nonresidents. State lawmakers hear so many complaints about straight-A students denied admission that some tried unsuccessfully during the last General Assembly session to force schools to admit more Virginia students.

“Unfortunately, we can’t take everybody,” said Greg Roberts, U.Va.’s dean of admission.

Roberts said the university reviews in-state and out-of-state students separately and maintains eight different applicant pools for U.Va.’s four schools.

“An in-state student would never compete against an out-of-state student,” he said.

U.Va. uses “a holistic approach” that’s “a bit of an art and a bit of a science” in reviewing applications, he said. That extends to the waiting list, from which U.Va. took about 200 students this year.

Wait-listed students do not receive a numeric rank, Roberts said, but are evaluated based on the needs of the school to which they applied.

“There is not a formula or a chart or a grid or a graph that dictates decisions for us,” he said.

U.Va. and other state schools maintain about the same ratio for in-state students from year to year. Based on preliminary enrollment figures, U.Va. expects new students, including transfers and freshmen, will be 68.6 percent in-state, down slightly from 70 percent last fall

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Students should definitely have plan B and C as they begin to narrow their college choices.  Additionally, students should not overlook the best deal in town, the community college.  The instruction is excellent and those attending the community colleges save thousands of dollars while getting the routine classes out of the way.  It isn’t as glamourous but college isn’t always about glamour. 

At the end of the day there is one thing to remember: University undergraduate programs exist to support a graduate school.  Research and development, Publish or Perish are all very real entities.  There are professors making 6 figures teaching 1 class–all on your dime while Little Johnny goes to school.

While Americans are rioting over things, they ought to definitely go after NCLB, but while they are at it, start asking some questions about your public universities.  Look at salaries and what those responsibilities are that go along with those big salaries.  You won’t be pleased.

PS–listen to the BS from the college people quotes…did you expect any differently?



15 Thoughts to “Why Little Johnny Can’t go to U.VA or Wm and Mary”

  1. punchak

    Where, oh where is our super active attorney general when we need him?

    Surely he could find someone to sue about this.

  2. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Who cares? College is more about what the student wants out of it than the name of the school…especially for four-year degree. You want to get fancy? Do it in grad school.

  3. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    There’s always a “better” school out there.

  4. Emma

    So big deal if precious little Johnny can’t go to the overrated school of his dreams. There are many wonderful “lesser” schools in VA with strong programs and dedicated faculties–Christopher Newport, Radford, JMU, UMW–and lots of young people living in this area who graduated from those schools and have wonderful careers after wonderful college experiences. I’m so sick of “helicopter” parents who act as if their kids’ futures will be destroyed if they don’t go to the best schools right away. You can’t get in? Suck it up and spend a year at a “lesser” school with some folks who you think are less brilliant than you think you are. It’s always easier to transfer in anyway.

  5. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    OK, I’ll say this much. I went through my Master’s at Johns Hopkins with a dude who graduated from Yale (looked like a Ken-doll, too). I’ll give that kid this much, he was friggin’ bright. Don’t know if it was Yale that made him bright or not, but he was really impressive!

  6. College, schmollege. Join the Navy. See the world. THEN go to college and let THEM pay for it. And you have that nice veteran label to open doors too…..

  7. Va college dad

    The state mandates the in-state vs. out-of-state admission for public colleges, somewhere around 30-35% max on out-of-state. If you think that’s bad, try landing an out-of-state admission at a public college in North Carolina or Florida. Unless you can run the 40 in under four seconds or dunk a basketball like Shaq (used to), your chances are slim and none. Unlike the true Ivies, W&M is not heavily endowed and can’t hand out scholarships right and left. Harvard lost $30 billion in the recession, roughly 10% of its endowment. W&M’s entire endowment is about $3 billion. As for poor Johnny, going to school in NOVA is no guarantee of brilliance.

  8. Emma

    @cargosquid Agreed. It might do some of the spoiled, entitled brats out there some good.

  9. hello

    Is little Johnny white? If so, that’s already one strike against him. Ah, isn’t racial discrimination based on your skin tone great!! (just as long as it’s against ‘whites’ that is)

  10. Cargo makes a good point. The only drawback might be that there are wars going on and you might have to deploy overseas.

    I highly recommend the Virginia Community College System. I went out there as a post grad to pick up some needed job related skills and I found the instruction excellent. and the classes small. I had a name and wasn’t a number. I don’t think you can beat it.

    You get out of it what you put in to it. I do think getting away is important. You have your junior and senior year for that.

  11. marinm

    NVCC (and VCCS) is a great deal for the citizens of the Commonwealth. Even our 4 year schools like Mason are great ‘deals’ in terms of the education you can get and the tuition cost.

    Sadly, the ROI for me going to school doesn’t pan out but the economy has me thinking about having a fallback in case the IT industry ever fails.. Law would be nice as I naturally enjoy debate but the idea of not being able to carry a firearm into a courthouse makes it a dealbreaker. 🙂

  12. Sounds like you are cutting off your nose to spite your face, marin.

    Welcome VA dad. thanks for your insight.

    The fact that undergrad college fees are being used to support the graduate schools is really offensive to me. People who run colleges, if honest, will admit it.

  13. From insidenova:

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Four Virginia schools have retained their status as top public colleges in annual rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.

    According to the list, the University of Virginia remains second among the Top 50 public national universities, the College of William and Mary is again sixth and Virginia Tech moved up two spots to rank 27th.

    Virginia Military Institute remained third on the list of the Top 5 public liberal arts colleges.

    On the list for best national universities, U.Va. is No. 25, William and Mary is No. 31 and Virginia Tech is No. 69. Also ranked are George Mason University at No. 143 and Virginia Commonwealth University at No. 167.

    The University of Richmond also was ranked 10th for best value.

  14. Emma

    I can’t believe how many schools bend over backwards to get good placement for that annual U.S. News nonsense.

    Students who successfully complete a year at Northern Virginia Community College are guaranteed admission to some of the best schools in the state. Plus it saves Mom and Dad a boatload of tuition $$$ on the basics they can take, like English and math.

  15. @Emma and they aren’t in classes with 300 other students. You and I are both preaching to the choir on this one. Furthermore, I am not sure a whole lot of 18 year olds are ready to go away and live on a campus of 30,000. I have known way too many who came home real fast.

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