State Colleges & Universities Scramble for a Backup Plan

May 5, 2014

We're officially into the second month of the Virginia General Assembly’s stalemate over Medicaid expansion—and no two-year budget.

While there's discussion of a possible government shutdown if lawmakers don't reach a compromise by July first, state business must continue in the interim.

That means the state's colleges and universities are now discussing contingency plans.


Political analyst and Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors member Doctor Bob Holsworth says many are cautiously optimistic that both houses will resolve this. But he says university leaders still have a responsibility to plan for the worst.

That does mean possible tuition increases. Holsworth says lawmakers also must consider how this may impact two of the state’s major hospitals. And if universities really get desperate, they may have to look at the summer semester.

He says that could prevent students from graduating on time or make some ineligible for sports teams. Holsworth doesn't believe lawmakers would risk the political implications and, therefore, would reach a deal before July first.