via Virginia’s Community Colleges [link]
During a winter legislative session when much of the public’s attention was focused on non-budget issues, Virginia lawmakers made spending decisions that will have major and positive impacts on VCCS students and employees.
While legislative consensus has formed around the numbers in this article, it’s important to remember that lawmakers will return to Richmond in April to consider the governor’s final budget recommendations. So, please consider this report to be a snapshot, based on the best information at our disposal at this time.
The 2019 General Assembly allocated money intended to help Virginia’s public colleges and universities hold the line on in-state tuition increases in the coming year. These “tuition moderation” funds include $13.1 million to the VCCS.
“I’m grateful the legislature has provided funding that will enable us to make a strong recommendation to the VCCS State Board to maintain tuition levels next academic year at current levels for in-state students,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. More than 90% of VCCS students are Virginia residents.
The Chancellor’s recommendation is important, of course, but it’s not the final word. The VCCS State Board will discuss tuition matters during its meeting March 21, and vote on tuitions at its meeting May 16.
The General Assembly’s budget also sets aside almost $3.5 million dollars for new need-based financial aid for VCCS students in academic and workforce training programs.
In addition, lawmakers agreed to increase funding for Virginia’s Workforce Credential Grants, which support VCCS’s FastForward workforce training programs. The additional funding will boost FastForward grant funding in the next budget year to $13.5 million (a 42% increase), and was a top priority for the VCCS at the 2019 legislature.
“We’re thrilled that the legislature continues to recognize the value of this investment in the commonwealth’s future,” said DuBois. “FastForward not only helps Virginians train for family-supporting careers, it also helps Virginia employers secure the skilled workers they need for our 21st century economy. Everybody benefits when we have a more skilled workforce.”
As part of the state’s response to the pending location of the new Amazon headquarters in Northern Virginia, lawmakers allocated $16.6 million to boost the number of students earning degrees in technology-related fields. This measure creates a competitive funding pool for all of Virginia’s institutions of higher education, including VCCS.