March 18, 2019
Virginia Legislative and Media Round-Up

Virginia General Assembly approves plan to fund and freeze college tuition, passes legislation to increase consumer transparency and promote public accountability in higher education

Thanks to you, the Virginia General Assembly's 2019 session was a turning point for Virginia higher education, with state lawmakers addressing the issue of college affordability by passing real and meaningful changes.

Thanks to you and your support of our efforts, it's clear that the concerns of affected students and families were heard loud and clear by state lawmakers.

Thanks to you, Virginia's public colleges and universities will be held to a higher standard of public accountability, ensuring that public interest is prioritized in the decision-making of public higher education.

Each of these measures are awaiting the governor's approval.  But thanks to you, these initiatives supported by Partners may soon have a positive impact on Virginia's students and families, offering them a much-needed break from tuition increases this year!

2019 KEY POLICY CHANGES

1.  The General Assembly has allocated an additional $57.5 million for public colleges and universities who agree to freeze in-state tuition for the coming year.
2.  Virginia's public colleges and universities will be required to hear from those most affected by decisions to raise tuition, including students and their families.
3.  Financial aid award letters will be easier for students and families to understand, helping them make better-informed financial decisions.
4.  Colleges will now be required to clearly identify courses with low or no-cost textbooks or materials in course catalogs so students can make the most affordable choices.
5.  Governing boards must now provide explanations for any unexpected increases in tuition and fees that deviate from projections in their six-year financial plans.
6.  College governing boards will be trained on student debt trends.

This progress could not have been possible without the support of lawmakers who pushed these issues to the front, the House and Senate education and money committees, and many members of the higher education community who recognized that there is a limit to what people can pay in tuition.

But most of all, these successes belong to groups and advocates like you.

While there is always more work to be done, this year's session was a milestone as we worked together to make college more affordable in Virginia.  You helped make it happen, and you have our thanks!


IN THE NEWS

Virginia legislature passes budget and closes scandal-marred session a day late - Richmond Times-Dispatch (2/24/19)

What the Virginia budget deal means for youWTOP (2/24/19)

Sturtevant: Funding and freezing college tuition in - 2019 Roanoke Times (2/22/19)

More Public Input Coming for College Tuition Hikes - Bacon's Rebellion (2/22/19)

Virginia Universities May Soon Have To Get The Public's Input On Tuition Hikes - WCVE PBS (2/21/19)

Tentative Virginia budget deal includes money for state employees, low-income school divisions - Richmond Times-Dispatch (2/21/19)

Dau and Toscano column: Something's wrong in higher education: skyrocketing college costs must come down -
Richmond Times-Dispatch (2/19/19)


Virginia Universities May Soon Have To Get The Public's Input On Tuition Hikes - WCVE PBS (2/19/19)

Tuition raises would have to go to public comment under bills from both parties in both chambers - Virginia Mercury (2/11/19)

Tuition could freeze at Virginia colleges under House of Delegates budget - Richmond Times-Dispatch (2/9/19)

College spending comes under closer scrutiny - Hechinger Report (2/1/19)