How Budget Cuts Will Affect Virginia Colleges

Proposed budget cuts for Virginia's public institutions of higher education.
Proposed budget cuts for Virginia’s public institutions of higher education. Data source: SCHEV. Click for more legible image.

Proposed cuts in state support for higher education in Virginia next fiscal year will effectively wipe out the extra money the General Assembly had allocated to public colleges and universities at the beginning of the budget cycle, Peter Blake, director of the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), told his board yesterday. “We’re back to where we started,” he said.

The cuts will come in two forms. In the face of the current revenue shortfall, Governor Terry McAuliffe has proposed a 5% General Fund reduction in appropriations for higher ed over the two-year budget cycle. Plus, the budget amendments would reduce institutions’ appropriations by $24.2 million to recover  adjustments to Virginia Retirement System rates for employees

Besides the cuts to individual institutions, as shown in the table above, the governor proposes cuts to SCHEV itself, the INOVA Global Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Institute, and other line items. The state also is clawing back $5 million in interest earnings and credit card rebates from the colleges and universities.

Blake said that legislators have told him that they will try to restore some of the funds, but added that there were no guarantees.

Marge Connelly, chair of the resources and planning committee, observed that Virginia’s higher education sector needs a more stable revenue stream from the commonwealth but offered no specific suggestions. SCHEV took no formal action in response to the data.

Blake said that the increased state contribution to higher ed in the current fiscal year made possible the lowest tuition hikes in years. Indeed, a legislative analysis presented to SCHEV in November found that state cuts accounted for about half the tuition increases over the past 20 years. However, that doesn’t include increases in fees, room, board and other expenses, so the state budget cuts explain only about 14% of the increased Cost of Attendance.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


5 responses to “How Budget Cuts Will Affect Virginia Colleges”

  1. These back-to-back postings illustrate the dilemma perfectly. Here we have documentation of how the State cannot be relied upon to fund higher education adequately. Previously we looked at Del. Albo’s bill (which would mandate 75% in-State undergraduate admissions and forbid cross-subsidization of undergrad scholarships by tuitions) and the sentiment behind it.

    The GA can’t have it both ways! If we want our institutions of higher education to stand on their own and compete nationally, we cannot make them do so with their hands tied behind their backs. Either they are free to do, and required to do, what has to be done to compete — or they are not.

  2. And as LarryG said earlier, “this system is a perversion and encourage and emboldens the higher ed to just abuse the state and students and want MO and MO Money… or else they’ll stick it to those middle class folks. We cannot continue like this. It’s unsustainable.” “This system” is the mix of State and private funding. We’ve already basically made the decision to cut the most successful schools loose (UVA, JMU, W&M, VT, GMU) — let’s stick to that logic and cut out the State support entirely, except for what’s already locked in for particular capital expenditures.

    Pair that with no tuition for in-State attendance at our two year community colleges and we’d have a viable solution for the middle class, LarryG.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    I’m all for state support on a true means-tested student voucher basis.

    I think the idea of giving a pot of money to the schools and hoping/directing they do with it what you want is hopelessly naive and doomed to fail no matter how many regulations are passed by the GA.

    The GA cannot run the schools.

    and yes, per Acbar – kids who are not ready for 4-yr should be rejected and sent to a 2yr until they are remediated. You can do that with you fund per student.
    ore in income – while we can’t even properly take care of our mentally ill or drug addiction issues, under funding state troopers and NOW watching the rural hospitals that are the primarily health care providers for the poorer parts of Va – watching them twist in the wind.

    it’s downright obscene to talk about subsidizing those with family incomes of 100K and more while we say we don’t have enough money to care for our mentally ill or pay State Troopers a living wage.

    Cut the Colleges loose – let them compete for students.. Fund the the low-income state students that are truly ready for 4-yr college, make the vouchers only good for COmmunity Colleges until they demonstrate they are ready for 4-yr.

    where are the true fiscal-conservatives here? AWOL!

  4. Vouchers could be a good mechanism for this. Fix the vouchers at enough to pay the tuition for Community College, and redeemable at 4yr colleges if admitted, with higher standards for admission (what standards? based on readiness without remediation?). Private/non-sectarian colleges also?

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    Yep – we’re tracking the same here. do vouchers for students -not pots of money for higher ed.

    Put strings/requirements on the vouchers to insure the student is READY for the next level BEFORE they go forward. Specifically PSAT and CLEP type assessments.

    AND make financial assistance ALSO contingent on assessments and performance.

    what we have right now is wild wild west free-for-all where the cry from parents is more money , more money… and Higher Ed – feeds that in to it’s PR “speaker”… and end the end -taxpayers get screwed and students a disservice as they are being used as pawns… and apparently the parents don’t care as long as their kid gets their college…

Leave a Reply