Virginia sees slight increase in state funding

Following five-year decrease in funding, Virginia schools find little relief

Across the nation, state colleges saw public funding increase by 5.7 percent in the past year, according to a report released Monday by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. State funding for higher education in Virginia increased from $1.71 billion in 2012 to $1.77 billion in 2013, a 3.5 percent increase.

This recent surge, however, does not fully address a steady downward trend in public funding from the previous several years. Nationwide, there has been a 4.1 percent drop in state support since 2009, the report noted — funding in Virginia dropped by 6.7 percent in that time period.

“There has been a minor uptake, very minor, in the amount of state funding for the University,” University spokesperson McGregor McCance said.

Increased state funding has come to the University “primarily in the form of a salary raise for faculty and staff … something we had not had for quite sometime,” said Mark Hampton, the assistant vice president for budget and financial planning. The gains in funding may be rendered futile, however, as student enrollment at the University is expected to significantly increase in the next several years, increasing costs.

Hampton said he expects increased government support to continue, widely as a result of former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s trademark Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, setting a “goal of producing another 100,000 bachelor’s degrees” in Virginia by 2025.

The exact amount the University will receive to fulfill this goal is “currently being debated” in the General Assembly, Hampton said.

The Illinois State report collects data through a survey sent out to states. States submit their totals, and correct any errors from previous years. The survey asks only for state totals and collects no data on individual institutions.

Published January 21, 2014 in FP test, News

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