July 5, 2018
2018 Virginia Legislators of the Year

Following each legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly, Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust recognizes four members for their distinguished leadership and commitment to promoting college affordability for Virginia’s students and families.  When selecting their annual awardees, Partners considers legislators’ bill patronage, voting records and other examples of leadership, such as courageously speaking up to advance the issue. 

Beyond these top four awards, Partners also commends legislative Champions of College Affordability who have displayed their support to press the case for college affordability during the legislative session.

2018 House Legislators of the Year

Delegate Jason Miyares (R-82)

During the 2018 session, Delegate Miyares introduced legislation to lock in tuition rates for each first year or transfer undergraduate Virginia student, and require governing board training for board trustees. Delegate Miyares also proposed legislation to require that governing boards of public institutions give public notice and provide a period for public comment prior to approving tuition and fee increases.  His common-sense proposal was unanimously approved by the House of Delegates before meeting an untimely end in the Senate Finance Committee.  Delegate Miyares’ bill garnered significant attention from multiple media outlets across Virginia.

Delegate David Reid (D-32)

In addition to capping tuition rates for four academic years for both Virginia and non-Virginia students, Delegate Reid sought to cap room and board for Virginia students at 90 percent of the annual percentage increase in the consumer price index.  With bipartisan support, the bill was successfully reported out of the House Education Committee before being tabled by the House Appropriations Committee.  Delegate Reid’s bill received ample press coverage across the state.  

2018 Senate Legislators of the Year

Senator Bill DeSteph Jr. (R-8)

During the 2018 session, Senator DeSteph introduced several bills to promote affordability and create rational and predicable relationships tying tuition to what it costs to live. Among them were proposals freezing tuition for Virginia students for a two-year period and capping increases in room and board to 90 percent of the annual percentage increases in the consumer price index.  Other measures would have tied tuition to the percentage annual increase in Virginia’s median household or the annual percentage increase in the national wage index, or cap in-state tuition to the annual percentage increase in the consumer price index.  After merging Senator DeSteph’s tuition cap bills with another proposal by Senator Glen Sturtevant, Senate Bill 373 was continued to 2019 by the Senate Committee on Education and Health.  Senator DeSteph continues to be vocal advocate when it comes to limiting tuition increases for Virginia’s students.

Senator Chap Petersen (D-34)

To promote transparency and accountability within Virginia’s public institutions, Senator Petersen introduced legislation requiring public institution governing boards to give public notice and provide a period of public comment prior to approving tuition and fee increases.  The bill successfully reported from the Senate Committee on Education and Health by overwhelming margins, only to fail in the Senate Finance Committee.

2018 Champions of College Affordability

Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84)

Delegate Davis proposed capping tuition rates and banning increases to fees for room and board that exceeded 90 percent of the annual increase in the consumer price index.  Delegate Davis also championed the implementation of performance-based funding for Virginia’s public colleges and universities.  That measure would have provided 50 percent of state appropriations based on the following metrics: percentageof Virginia students enrolled, tuition rates, average amount of time it takes students to complete degrees, student graduation rates, student employment rates, and median salaries six months after graduation.

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41)

To address the rising cost of college textbooks, Delegate Filler-Corn championed legislation requiring Virginia's public colleges and universities to create guidelines for the adoption of open educational resources.  After unanimously passing both houses of the General Assembly, Governor Ralph Northam signed Delegate Filler-Corn’s bill into law.

Delegate Steven Landes (R-25)

Delegate Landes, who also serves as chairman of the House Education Committee, successfully championed legislation to promote affordability and transparency within higher education.  To ensure that students who take dual-enrollment courses to cut down the cost of a college education consistently receive transfer credit, Delegate Landes’ measure required the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to work with college and university officials to set uniform quality standards. Another measure mandated that SCHEV track and publish the percentage of graduates at Virginia institutions and the average salaries and student loan debt of these graduates by degree program and level.  Both proposals have been signed into law by Governor Northam and will provide relief for dual-enrollment students and offer more information for prospective college students looking for information with which to chart their futures.

Delegate Marcia Price (D-95)

Delegate Price championed graduates burdened with student loan debt by sponsoring a bill to establish a state student loan ombudsman, who would advocate for borrowers and help negotiate loan terms to ease the burden of repayment.  The measure provides a financial lifeline for students who don’t know who to turn to. Delegate Price’s proposal was signed into law by Governor Northam.

Senator Glen Sturtevant (R-10)

Senator Sturtevant introduced legislation to prohibit tuition increases that would exceed twice the annual percentage increase in the consumer price index without prior statutory approval of the General Assembly.  Senator Sturtevant’s bill was incorporated into Senate Bill 373 and carried over to the 2019 legislative session by the Senate Committee on Education and Health. 

Relevant Bills introduced by 2018 Legislators of the Year and Legislative Champions

 

Delegate Davis

House Bill 1512

 

Senator DeSteph

Senate Bill 373

Senate Bill 377

Senate Bill 577

Senate Bill 836

 

Delegate Filler-Corn

House Bill 454

 

Delegate Landes

House Bill 3

House Bill 347

 

Delegate Miyares

House Bill 249

House Bill 1473

House Bill 1474

 

Senator Peterson

Senate Bill 824

Delegate Price

House Bill 1138

 

Delegate Reid

House Bill 351

Senator Sturtevant

Senate Bill 749