Continuing his administration’s four-year effort to make college more affordable and accessible for Virginia students, Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that his FY 2015/2016 budget will include $183.1 million over the biennium in new support of Virginia’s colleges and universities. The governor’s proposed new funding will help the Commonwealth achieve the goals of the historic “Top Jobs” legislation (Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011), put forward by McDonnell, that has the state on the path to generating 100,000 additional degrees and certifications over the next 15 years, is reducing the growth of tuition, and enhancing access to higher education. This legislation has also contributed to the creation of 14,000 new slots for incoming students at Virginia schools, and Virginia has recently seen the lowest average yearly increase in tuition in a decade. Speaking about the new funding for higher education, Governor McDonnell said, “I firmly believe that in order to get a good job, you need a good education. Our 2011 ‘Top Jobs’ legislation had one very clear goal: to increase the accessibility and affordability of higher education here in the Commonwealth. That legislation is working. We have already added 14,000 new undergraduate slots for Virginia students. We have invested over $400 million in higher education and created a new higher education funding formula based on enrollment growth, initiatives, incentives, research, financial aid, productivity, and other critical goals. And we have put the Commonwealth’s universities on a pathway to awarding 100,000 additional degrees and certifications over the next 15 years. However, in order to remain one of the nation’s premier systems of public higher education, we must continue our commitment to higher education in the fiscal year 2015/2016 budget. We have started a process that is working, now we must invest in it, and, by doing so, invest in our students and Virginia’s economic future. That is why I am proposing another $183.1 million for higher education in this budget. Virginia’s future prosperity depends upon our current commitment to today’s higher education system. We are investing in the future, and we are making Virginia a more vibrant, prosperous and competitive Commonwealth.”
The governor’s budget will provide the following funding for higher education:
Approximately $32.4 million will support a variety of higher education-related entities and programs, including:
- Sufficient funding to raise the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) to Virginia residents attending private Virginia colleges and universities from $3,100 to $3,300
- Nearly $6.1 million in workforce development programs and initiatives through the Virginia Community College System, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, New College, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the Roanoke Higher Education Center, and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
- Support for higher education consortiums such as 4-VA Partnership, Center for Advanced Logistics and Virtual Library of Virginia
- Funding to allow the Jefferson Lab in Newport News to compete for significant new federal infrastructure investment at Virginia’s particle accelerator facility
Over $150 million will be provided directly to the higher education institutions, consistent with the provisions of the “Top Jobs” Act, with $45 million (30 percent) dedicated to base operations and financial aid, while $105 million (70 percent) is directed towards incentivizing performance.
- Of the $45 million for base operations and financial aid, $13.5 million is dedicated to base operations and $31.5 million will go to financial aid. Of the $31.5 million in financial aid, 10 percent will be applied towards graduate financial aid to attract high caliber students to Virginia’s research programs.
- Of the $105 million given to incentivize performance, $21 million will be provided for enrollment growth, $63 million for incentive funding, and $21 million for research and initiatives in support of the goals of the “Top Jobs” Act.
- The incentive funding rewards performance of higher education institutions for increasing graduation and retention rates, graduating additional STEM-H students needed to keep our economy competitive, and attracting students of all socio-economic levels to higher education.
- Also included in the funding for research is $2 million over the biennium for cancer research at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU); $2 million for cancer research at the University of Virginia (UVA); $3.3 million for brain research at Virginia Tech; $2 million for ultrasound research on movement disorders at UVA; $1.95 million to support the Center for Bioelectrics at Old Dominion University (ODU); and $1.3 million for Parkinson’s Disease research at VCU.
Higher Education Accomplishments During McDonnell Administration
- Reduced tuition increases at Virginia’s colleges and universities to the lowest average yearly increase in a decade (from nearly 10% average during 2000-2010 to 4% in 2012)
- Reformed higher education to generate 100,000 new degrees by 2025 focusing on STEM through “Top Jobs of the 21st Century” legislation in 2011; colleges and universities have already enrolled an additional 14,000 in-state undergraduates
- Invested over $400 million in new money in higher education and created new higher education funding formula based on enrollment growth, initiatives, incentives, research, financial aid, productivity, and other critical goals
- Implemented and secured funding for Old Dominion University’s MonarchTeach which will afford aspiring STEM teachers an opportunity to engage in clinical/field experience during their first year of college
- Established the Governor’s Center for Excellence in teaching at George Mason University
- Established a school and campus safety week to raise awareness and highlight the importance of all-hazards preparedness on school and college campuses
- Implemented requirement for university specific strategic plans and efficiency goals to reduce overhead
- Ensured in-state tuition for a larger population family members of active military, and members of the National Guard; including passage of landmark legislation providing in-state tuition to all veterans
- Expanded non-credit funding in the 2012-14 biennial budget for community college workforce training and services to 9,463 businesses annually
- Expanded use of higher education equipment trust fund to provide pre-employment and incumbent workforce training through community college and non-credit programs
- Launched the state’s first workforce development report card that provides state and regional data on outcomes in the areas of STEM-H pipeline development, college and career readiness, secondary and postsecondary credential attainment, employment, and training capacity
- Expanded the role of the Virginia Workforce Council to advise the governor on leadership and administration of more than 25 career and technical education and workforce programs targeted to Virginians from middle school to retirement age