College tuition in Virginia jumped by 10 percent during Gov. Bob McDonnell's first two years in office, but the average tuition hike last year was about half that, 4.5 percent, the smallest increase in a decade.

The smaller increases follow McDonnell's decision to make lower tuition costs a centerpiece of his agenda. Last year, he pushed university leaders to not raise tuition and fees and set aside $100 million a year in his 2013-2015 biennial budget for higher education. The cost of education increased by 13.1 percent in 2011 and 9.7 percent in 2012, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Tuition jumped by 4.4 percent statewide, and student fees rose 3.2 percent.

"Whether an increase in cost comes in the form of tuition or fees, it is an added expense for students and their families," said McDonnell spokesman Paul Logan. "The governor has appointed individuals from a variety of backgrounds in business and academia to university boards to balance the needs of the university, make the right decisions for those schools and make them better serve students."

Virginia State University had the largest increase last year, jumping 7.1 percent over the previous year, from the 2011-12 school year to 2012-13. Norfolk State University had the smallest increase, 2.5 percent.

Annual tuition at the University of Virginia is $10,066, which is $750 more than any other state school.

- Steve Contorno