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Compromise budget includes money to keep tuition rates from spiking

Mallory Noe-Payne
/
Radio IQ

Members of the General Assembly struck a deal and approved a state budget this week. Part of that was new money for higher ed.

The budget compromise struck this week by Democrats who control the General Assembly and Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin includes $200 million to keep state college tuition rates from spiraling out of control.

"There's no minimum rate or cap in the bill," says Delegate Mark Sickles, who was one of the chief negotiators. "So, if you've raised them too high considering the money that you've received now, then you could reduce your rates now because most of the schools have not set their rates yet. They were waiting for us to finish."

Now that the General Assembly and the governor have finally cut a deal, House Finance Chairwoman Vivian Watts says it’s a piece of the puzzle.

"There are many, many things to be done about the student debt problem," she says. "But this is one effort with high priority to keep tuition under control so that you don't burden graduates with student debt."

According to the State Council of Higher Education, the average tuition plus room and board in Virginia is about $17,000 a year.

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

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.