College Affordability

Funding Higher Ed in Virginia


Current Situation:
The data show that Virginia has above-average in-state tuition and below-average per-student tax appropriations. Tuition and fees at Virginia public research, four year, and two year institutions in 2017-2018 are among the highest in the US.

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How to make higher education more affordable for Virginia residents particularly lower income students while expanding educational opportunities and controlling costs?


Why College Became So Expensive

By Joe Pinsker

The Atlantic – Sep. 3, 2019

The story of the rising cost of college in America is often told through numbers, with references to runaway tuition prices and the ever-growing pile of outstanding student debt.

The personal toll these trends have taken is hard to convey, but the anthropologist Caitlin Zaloom does so in her new book, Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost, which documents how the price of a college education has forced many middle-class families to rearrange their priorities, finances, and lives.


California joins a handful of other states that provide community college tuition-free

By Kendall Tramell

CNN – Aug. 28, 2019

California will provide free tuition for two years of community college to first-time, full-time California students.
California governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to increase the 2019-2020 state budget to $42.6 million. This expansion allows the California College Promise program to make a second year of free community college tuition possible for approximately 33,000 students.

“This is real help for students trying to improve their lives and build their future,” Newsom said in a statement Tuesday. He called it a “meaningful step toward chipping away at the cost of higher learning for students and their families.”


Americans don’t realize state funding for higher ed is falling, new poll finds

By Jon Marcus
Hechinger Report – Feb. 25, 2019

In fact, spending is down, driving tuition up and frustrating the search for skilled workers

“It’s kind of unthinkable that the government would scale back that kind of thing,” said Duffield, 20, a North Carolina community college student majoring in environmental engineering. “Any country that chooses not to prioritize higher education makes itself less competitive in the world.” 

Most Americans believe state spending for public universities and colleges has, in fact, increased or at least held steady over the last 10 years, according to a new survey by American Public Media.

They’re wrong. States have collectively scaled back their annual higher education funding by $9 billion during that time, when adjusted for inflation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, or CBPP, reports.

Unkept Promises: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Access and Equity

By Michael Mitchell et al
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) – August 23, 2017

The decade since the Great Recession hit, state spending on public colleges and universities remains well below historical levels. Overall state funding for public two- and four-year colleges in the school year ending in 2018 was more than $7 billion below its 2008 level, after adjusting for inflation. (See Figure 1.) In the most difficult years after the recession, colleges responded to significant funding cuts by increasing tuition, reducing faculty, limiting course offerings, and in some cases closing campuses. Funding has rebounded slightly since then, but costs remain high and services in some places have not returned.

The promise to past generations of students in America has been that if you work hard and strive, public colleges and universities will serve as an avenue to greater economic opportunity and upward mobility. For today’s students — a cohort more racially and economically diverse than any before it — that promise is fading.

Expanding Opportunities

Top 6 trends in higher education

By Emal Dusst and Rebecca Winthrop
Brookings Institution – Jan. 10, 2019

Around the world, tuition at universities is rising at a much faster rate than inflation and challenging students’ return on investment. Reduced government funding and higher operating costs are driving the need for change at universities. The mismatch in employer needs and employee skills is leaving over seven million jobsunfilled in the U.S.

These trends are opening the way for new approaches in higher education. Innovations in how post-secondary education are delivered, financed, and recognized are driven by a range of actors—from large public universities like Arizona State University to elite private institutions like MIT to the many relatively new education companies entering the sector like Make School, Coursera, and Trilogy Education.

Online Learning



Lifelong Learning

Transferability of credits

Public Colleges

Source: SCHEV website

Community Colleges

Four year Public Colleges

Graduate Schools

General Assembly

State Senate

Source: VA LIS

2019 Members of Senate Education and Health Committee:
Stephan Newman, Committe Chair
Dick Saslaw
Louise Lucas
Janet Howell
Mamie Locke
George Barker
Richard Black (R-13, retiring)
Charles Carrico (R-40, retiring)
Chap Petersen
John Cosgrove
Lynwood Lewis
Siobhan Dunnavan
Amanda Chase
David Suetterlein
Mark Peake

2019 Members of Sub-Committee on Higher Education:
Dick Saslaw,  Sub-Committee Chair
Richard Black (R-13, retiring)
Amanda Chase
John Cosgrove
Janet Howell
Chap Petersen

State House of Delegates

Source: House website

2019 Members of the House Education Committee:
Steve Landes, Committee Chair (R-25, retiring)
Richard Bell (R-20, retiring)
Mark Cole
Brenda Pogge (R-96, retiring)
Roxann Robinson
David Yancey
Glenn Davis
James Leftwich
Dave LaRock
Gordon Helsel (R-91, retiring)
Chris Collins
John McGuire
Roslyn Tyler
David Bulova
Mark Keam
Lamont Bagby
Jeffrey Bourne
Schuyler VanValkenburg
Cheryl Turpin (D-85, running for Senator in 2019)
Debra Rodman
Rip Sullivan

2019 Members of the House Education Sub-Committee #3 (Higher Ed):
James Leftwich, Sub-Committee Chair
Richard Bell (R-20, retiring)
Roxann Robinson
David Yancey
Gordon Helsel (R-91, retiring)
Mark Keam
Schuyler VanValkenburg
Debra Rodman
Steve Landes (R-25, retiring), ex-officio

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)

Source: SCHEV website

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for higher education. SCHEV was established by the Governor and General Assembly in 1956. Then as now, our mission, which is outlined in the Code of Virginia, is “to advocate and promote the development and operation of an educationally and economically sound, vigorous, progressive, and coordinated system of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to lead state-level strategic planning and policy development and implementation based on research and analysis …. The Council shall also seek to facilitate collaboration among institutions of higher education that will enhance quality and create operational efficiencies and shall work with institutions of higher education and their boards on board development.”

To fulfill our mission, SCHEV makes higher education public policy recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly in such areas as capital and operating budget planning, enrollment projections, institutional technology needs, and student financial aid. SCHEV administers a variety of educational programs that benefit students, faculty, parents, and taxpayers. SCHEV serves as a catalyst to promote greater access, quality, affordability, and accountability throughout the system. SCHEV also helps policymakers, college administrators, and other concerned leaders work cooperatively and constructively to advance educational excellence

SCHEV Staff & Leadership

Source: SCHEV website

Peter Blake, Director

Peter A. Blake joined the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) as interim director in 2011 and became director in January 2012. Blake previously worked at SCHEV as an associate director overseeing higher education analyses in the areas of faculty and staff compensation, higher education funding policies, academic libraries, distance learning and instructional technology, and student financial aid. 

Blake left SCHEV in 1999 to serve as the legislative fiscal analyst for the Virginia General Assembly’s House Appropriations Committee. From 2002-2006 he was deputy secretary of education and secretary of education under former Governor Mark Warner. He later served as the vice chancellor of workforce development services for the Virginia Community College System, where he led policy and budget development for state and federal workforce programs. 

In July 2015, Blake was elected chair of the executive committee of SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers), the national association for chief executives of statewide governing, policy and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. He had served as SHEEO’s treasurer and chair of its budget and finance subcommittee.
Blake has served on boards of organizations including LEAD Virginia, the Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni Association, the Richmond Public Library, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Blake completed the Virginia Executive Institute and LEAD Virginia programs, as well as the Associates program through the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. He recently completed The Executive Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He holds B.A. and M.S. degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Virginia Funding Options

The Virginia Plan for Higher Education

Source: SCHEV website

Overview: The Virginia Plan for Higher Education

Virginia faces a future in which higher education will play an increasingly important role. Virginians will need deeper and broader knowledge and skills to be engaged, productive participants in our evolving Commonwealth and its economy. At the same time, the demographics of the emerging generation are changing: An increasing share of our youth will come from populations which historically have been underrepresented in both higher education and the highly educated sectors of our workforce. These changes transpire at a time when the price of attending Virginia colleges and universities has increased at unsustainable rates.

The Code of Virginia vests the State Council of Higher Education (the Council) with responsibility to develop a statewide strategic plan that reflects statutory goals for higher education in the Commonwealth, identifies a coordinated approach to such state and regional goals, and emphasizes the future needs for higher education in Virginia. Approved in October 2014, The Virginia Plan for Higher Education is designed to identify trends that the Commonwealth must address if it is to continue to prosper and succeed. Through input from higher-education partners, The Virginia Plan is intended to help guide a vision for Virginia’s future through a common framework. This framework is built on the premise that all partners in higher education must work together to help Virginia, its citizens and its regions.

Controlling Costs

Federal Funding Options

Source: Vox

Democrats’ ongoing argument about free college, explained

By Matthew Yglesias
Vox – June 24, 2019

It’s a debate that cleaves two philosophically distinct approaches to politics: one a mentality of hoarding scarce resources for the most efficient uses, and the other a broad, aspirational vision of public luxury in which there’s little need to quibble about exactly who gets what.

Yet the federal government is a secondary actor in higher education. State governments allowed higher education cost structures to rise even while pulling back on funding, pushing more costs onto students. It’s ultimately state governments that will need to decide whether they’re willing to spend more on higher education, cut costs, or both. The candidates arguing about this are running for president, not governor, and when you look under the hoods of their plans, there may be less to the contrast than the broad philosophical discussion would suggest.

Democratic Presidential Candidates

Democratic Presidential Contenders Propose Free College And Student Loan Forgiveness

By Anya Kamenetz
NPR – June 27, 2019

Kevin Carey, who directs education policy at the nonpartisan think tank New America, calls the 2020 Democratic field an “arms race” for “who can be the most ambitious and expansive when it comes to tackling the cost of higher education.”

But, he says, there are important differences among the candidates’ proposals — and of course roadblocks along the way. There are questions of equity, fairness, cost and feasibility, as well as the question of which plan will attract the most voters in this early stage of the game.

The 2020 Presidential Candidates on Higher Ed

By Inside Higher Ed
Democratic contenders push moderate debt relief plans in response to Warren, Sanders– August 9, 2019
Buttigieg Calls Out For-Profit Colleges in Debate – July 31, 2019
Warren introduces debt relief legislation, drawing contrast with Sanders – July 24, 2019
Democratic contenders draw contrasts on free college, student debt – June 28, 2019
Sanders outflanks Warren with proposal for universal student loan debt relief– June 25, 2019
Go to link above for more articles

Controlling Costs


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