Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has unveiled a new higher education funding package that's intended to relieve some of the financial burden faced by colleges and universities.
McDonnell has not only recommended removing a proposed $10-million-per-year budget cut on state colleges and universities, but he's also rolled out a funding package that grants an additional $100 million per year to be divided among eight areas.
That includes incentives to help students studying science, technology, engineering, math, and healthcare graduate sooner. McDonnell admits that higher education has been underfunded, which resulted in tuition spikes. McDonnell isn't saying that his plan will definitely help stave off more tuition increase, however.
"There's nothing in this legislation that mandates to a president or a rector or a board member what the tuitions have to be," McDonnell says, adding that he's tried to work with college presidents for some give-and-take. "What I've tried to do is … say, 'Look, I'm going to try to do our part, but we expect you to do your part. You keep a lid on expenses … if we do our part, then we expect you to do your part and keep a lid on tuition."
McDonnell's plan also includes asking higher education leaders to set aside the equivalent of 3 percent of each school's general fund to help pay for a "Top Jobs" initiative.