VCCS “Ensuring Veterans’ Service Counts” Priority Moves Forward
On Thursday Jan. 22, the Senate Education and Health Committee heard Senator Rosalyn Dance present SB 992, which would streamline and simplify the process for active duty military personnel and veterans to receive academic credit for military training and credentialing at Virginia’s community colleges. SB 992 is a top legislative priority of the VCCS, and is an initiative to establish a systematic, statewide approach to match military training and credentialing with for-credit academic courses. It will help service members and veterans quickly and affordably complete their associate and bachelor degrees and become eligible for private sector employment. Senator Frank Ruff is a chief co-patron of SB 992.
Since Senator Dance’s bill was introduced, two identical bills (SB 1335 patroned by Senator John Cosgrove and SB 1322 patroned by Senator Walter Stosch and co-patroned by Senators Martin and Reeves) were filed, and all three bills were consolidated into SB 1335. SB 1335 was unanimously reported from the Senate Education and Health Committee and re-referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
Bill Increasing Flexibility for VCCS’s Authority Advances
HB 1895 (Cox) passed the House of Delegates today on third reading. HB 1895 will improve operating efficiencies at the VCCS by granting additional flexibility under the VCCS’s Level II authority. Level II criteria were established by the 2008 General Assembly under the 2005 Higher Education Restructuring Act. Level II institutions currently may receive additional authority in two of three areas – capital outlay, information technology, and procurement. The VCCS had previously received Level II authority for information technology and capital projects. Institutions enter Level II through a “memorandum of understanding” with the Governor and respective cabinet Secretaries. Other colleges with Level II authority are George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, and Virginia Military Institute. Four Virginia institutions have received Level III authority—the College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech. The Level III institutions are also allowed to issue debt and withdraw from any risk management or insurance programs.
Community College Student Visits Continue
An enthusiastic group of community college students from 12 colleges experienced a day in the General Assembly this week! Students from Patrick Henry, Southwest, Northern Virginia, Rappahannock, Tidewater, Paul D. Camp, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Danville, Dabney S. Lancaster, Germanna, and New River visited this week. A group of students from Reynolds Community College is featured on our blog and more student visits will be highlighted in upcoming weeks. During the week of January 26, students representing Central Virginia, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, two delegations from Northern Virginia, Rappahannock, Reynolds, Southwest, two delegations from Tidewater, Thomas Nelson, Virginia Highlands, Virginia Western, and Wytheville will receive a briefing from the Chancellor, meet with their legislators and witness a House or Senate floor session.
Check the Legislative Tracking page for bills of interest to Virginia’s Community Colleges. A total of 2,245 bills have been introduced; Friday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for introduction of new bills. For photos of the student visits, see the most recent albums at the VCCS Flickr page.
Pictured above, Blue Ridge students and president John Downey (far right) visit with Del. Stephen Landes (second from left).
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