Mixed News for Higher Ed in State Budget

Jun 5, 2018

State lawmakers have signed off on a budget that includes increased spending on K-12 education, health care, and raises for state employees. But the outlook for higher education funding is mixed.


The initial budget proposal included a large increase in financial aid, specifically to help low-income in-state undergrads afford college. But Chris Duncombe with the Commonwealth Institute says that’s not what wound up in the final budget.


Credit Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr CC

“The compromise deal that emerged in the Senate, and was approved by the Senate and House last week, only provided about 2/3, or about $15 million less in this need based financial aid,” Duncombe says. “Which is in contrast to most of the areas, when you look over the budget, where we’re seeing heightened funding above and beyond what the Governor put in.”


Still, officials with the State Council for Higher Education say they feel good about those numbers. Although the increase is not as much as first proposed, it is one of the largest jumps in a decade.


Beyond financial aid VCU, UVA and Virginia Tech all received additional dollars to help graduate more people in high-demand fields like data science, healthcare and education.  


UVA also received a million dollars for research and development at their focused ultrasound center. Virginia Tech received $20 million for a new initiative in Northern Virginia called CyberX. That was half the funding initially proposed.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.