Vivian's Views > Higher Education
Virginia has some of the best colleges and universities in the country. We must make sure that this history of excellence continues and that there is room for all qualified children coming from Northern Virginia. Higher education must be available based on the student's academic ability -- not on ability to pay -- through financial aid and alternatives to residential universities.
Many coming to the Washington, D.C. area chose to live in Virginia because of its excellent higher education system. Over the years, it defined Virginia as not just a sleepy southern state. Those hold a degree from one of our institutions know its value would drop if the reputation of the institution dropped.
The quality of our universities is also one of the key elements to economic development throughout the Commonwealth. I served on the Governor's Biotechnology Advisory Commission from 2002-2005. Biotechnology is but one area of research -- but a major one -- where Virginia is well-situated to play a leadership role in the future, whether in medicine, agriculture, communications, marine science, or basic research. With enlightened stewardship, Virginia can continue to lead.
LACK OF FUNDING
Between 2000 and 2009, state funding to 4-year schools dropped in constant dollars from $10,675 to $7,303 per student. Without the stimulus the drop would have gone to $6,600. Community colleges have been cut less as we’ve struggled to preserve this crucial path to an affordable college degree.
(RESPONSES TO CONSTITUENT LETTERS - MARCH 20, 2001) ...I do not accept that Virginia being the 10th most expensive state in which to attend college is adequate. North Carolina spends almost $18,000 per student compared to Virginia’s $7,000 and the University of Maryland has committed $120 million to construction and renovation compared to only $7 million for UVA. This was before the Governor (Allen) cut all construction projects. George Mason University, being one of the two universities that are furthest behind, is hurt even more...
(CAMPAIGN - 1999) ...resources alone do not guarantee an education relevant to the demands of the next century. Being able to use rapidly-changing technology throughout life will depend upon a student’s ability to engage in structured thinking and analysis.
I believe a portion of any tuition increase should always go into increasing the financial assistance available to students. I believe that this requirement should be part of the agreement described in the next paragraph.
RESTRUCTURING HIGHER EDUCATION
(2005 NEWSLETTER) ...Complex legislation created 3 levels of self-direction for Virginia’s public universities and colleges, including community colleges. Institutions must submit a 6-year plan that balances tuition, student aid, and access and that meets statewide goals and accountability standards. If its plan is approved, the institution can gain greater control over faculty positions, research, intellectual property, and contracts.
(2005 NEWSLETTER) ...Springfield Medical Education Campus – There is a great demand for trained medical support, from lab technicians to direct patient care. It made no sense to have a waiting list of persons seeking a health care career, with empty classrooms in a brand new building that could be used to train them. We added $2.3 million to the budget to bring the faculty on-board in order to fully utilize this facility.
(2003 NEWSLETTER) ...Examples of questionable cuts to basic services are many [made to absorb a $6 billion shortfall over 3 years]. For the first time, all qualified graduates of NVCC will not be able to complete their last two years at GMU.
(CAMPAIGN - 1999) ...in Northern Virginia, where (according to the Chancellor of the VCCS) there are more students with post-graduate degrees than there are people on faculty, it is essential to have strong non-degree programs that allow people to remain current. Offerings need to include courses that train highly educated and intelligent people to be able to fully use their analytical abilities on state of the art computers.