November 19, 2012
SCHEV Budget Recommendations Encourage Innovation and
Performance at Virginia’s Colleges and Universities
RICHMOND —The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) today approved budget recommendations that include $109 million more in general fund dollars than appropriated in the current biennial budget. The Council based its budget recommendations on a funding model created by Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly with the passage of the Virginia Higher Education Act of 2011 (known as TJ21).
“The Council applauds the Governor and General Assembly for the $258 million investment in higher education in 2012-14, which halted the trend of disinvestment in the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities and helped make possible the lowest tuition increases in a decade,” said SCHEV Chairman Gil Bland. “While the Council acknowledges the Commonwealth’s financial constraints, we believe that additional funding in the second year of the biennium will help mitigate tuition increase, encourage innovation, and improve institutional and student performance.”
The Council’s budget recommendations seek to identify opportunities where limited resources can be leveraged for the maximum benefit of the Commonwealth and its higher education institutions. Accordingly, the Council recommends $71.5 million in incentives for institutional performance, including support for additional faculty and staff, library and other instructional materials, in-state enrollment growth, improved retention and graduation, and degrees in high-demand programs such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health care-related professions (STEM-H). The recommendations include an additional 2 percent faculty salary increase in FY 2014 to aid in the recruitment and retention of high quality teaching and research faculty.
The Council also recommends $27 million in undergraduate student financial aid. “Families struggling to pay for college are grateful that the General Assembly recognized the importance of higher education affordability and added $8.4 million for undergraduate student financial aid in the 2012-14 biennium,” said Council member Stephen Haner, who chairs SCHEV’s Budget Recommendations Task Force. “However, tuition and fees are still rising, many families haven’t seen their own budgets recover, and we estimate the amount they need to close the gap will rise more than 19 percent next year. These dollars keep young people in class with less debt.” Additionally, the Council is proposing a set of parameters around which institutions would be allowed to use tuition revenue for student financial aid.
Finally, the Council’s budget recommendations include $10.2 million for the operation and maintenance of new buildings opening in 2013-14 and $30.7 million in additional equipment allocations for the Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund, which allows institutions to support instructional programs and leverage college and university research and workforce development capabilities. The cost to the Commonwealth—debt service costs estimated at $4.1 million—will not begin until 2014-15.
“SCHEV strives to work with Virginia’s leaders to ensure that our colleges and universities serve the best interests of the Commonwealth, while providing students with affordable access to excellent programs,” said SCHEV Director Peter Blake. “Today’s unanimous passage of the 2013 budget recommendations by Council is an important part of that collaborative effort.”
SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on higher education issues.
For more information, contact Kirsten Nelson, Director of Government Relations and Communications, at KirstenNelson@schev.edu or (804) 225-2627.