Delegate wants to reduce student athletic fees that cost students big bucks

Posted at 10:01 PM, Jan 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-08 00:30:47-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- An area legislator wants to reduce student athletic fees at Virginia’s colleges and universities, and will sponsor legislation this session that would force the schools to find funding elsewhere, or cut costs.

“The access and affordability of college for students has really gotten out of hand,” Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said.

Cox said the legislation is in response to a series of reports published by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) regarding the cost of public higher education in the state.

Virginia’s state colleges and universities are among the most expensive in the nation.

Cox said some schools’ decision to move to Division One over the past several years drove up athletic costs.

“That’s great if you want to do that, but putting that on the back totally of students is to me too burdensome,” Cox said.

According to the JLARC report, 12-percent of what students pay to go to Virginia state schools goes to athletic programs, which are mostly funded by student fees.

According to a 2013 report by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, students at VCU pay $697.31 per year in athletic fees, students at VSU pay $987 per year in athletic fees, and students at Longwood University pay the most, $1,829, in athletic fees per year.

“That money shouldn’t be taken out of the students,” Andrew Rubio, a VCU senior, said before sitting down to watch VCU play Davidson.

Classmate Kathryn Dailey, who also attended Wednesday’s game, said she doesn’t mind paying a small fee to help fund the basketball team and other sports, but Dailey attends VCU on her own dime and feels nearly $700 is a bit much to have to spend.

“It’s just a minor, athletics, it’s not as important as academics,” Dailey said.