Virginia’s colleges and universities may not get all—if any—of the funds they are requesting for news construction projects.
But the State Council for Higher Education is recommending that lawmakers make maintenance a major priority in the new biennial budget. The Council is also recommending continued funding of "Top Jobs 21"—a major education initiative started by Governor McDonnell.
SCHEV Director Peter Blake says the "Top Jobs 21" package has provisions that improve quality, affordability, and access in higher education. The Council recommends a funding increase in education and general programs of 7.1%.
"With the funding that we've seen the last couple of General Assembly sessions and supported by this governor, as well as the funding that we recommend today, we believe that begins to bend the curve in the right direction. That makes it more advantageous for students and more affordable for more students to come to Virginia's colleges and universities."
Governor McDonnell will use his discretion in proposing a budget that will include some or all of SCHEV's recommendations. By the end of the upcoming General Assembly session, it could be amended by lawmakers and the next governor, who also could approve some of the building projects submitted by colleges and universities. But excluding maintenance and education proposals, lawmakers would need to find an additional $3.5 billion dollars to fund all of the capital outlay projects.