Above: Blue Ridge Community College pres. John Downey (l.) led a delegation to Richmond January 23 to meet lawmakers from the college’s service region, including Harrisonburg-Rockingham state Delegate Tony Wilt (r.)
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Everyone’s engagement on the G3 initiative has been tremendous,” says Ellen Davenport, VCCS assistant vice chancellor for government relations, in her latest report from the State Capitol.
Davenport knows it’s critical for lawmakers to hear from constituents about key issues, especially when hundreds of measures compete for their attention.
G3, the governor’s multi-million dollar proposal to increase access to community college for tens of thousands of low-to-moderate income Virginians, would be the biggest investment in Virginia’s community colleges in a generation.
Here’s a link to the latest FAQ about G3 and Virginia’s Community Colleges.
Davenport says the vast majority of VCCS colleges have sent delegations of faculty, administrators and students to visit their lawmakers at this winter’s General Assembly session. In addition, almost all of our college presidents have secured op-ed columns in their local newspapers promoting G3.
JTCC pres. Ted Raspiller (r.) led a delegation to the State Capitol Feb. 5, and met with State Senator (and former VCCS faculty member) Ghazala Hashmi (third from left.)
Meanwhile, the independent student advocacy organization “Virginia 21” is mounting an online petition campaign for G3 on Facebook and Twitter.
Added Davenport: “KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, EVERYBODY! The budget recommendations from the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee will be revealed on Sunday, Feb. 16.”
Thomas Nelson interim president Gregory DeCinque (right, back row) led a delegation from TNCC to the General Assembly on Jan. 30, advocating for G3 in meetings with several tidewater lawmakers.
Additional highlights from Ellen Davenport’s report from the General Assembly on Friday, Feb. 7:
Other Higher Education Legislation
A number of bills being closely monitored by the VCCS because they would have presented a fiscal impact, a significant departure from current practice requiring further study, or were not necessary were “carried over” in the House Education Committee this week. Bills continued until 2021 include:
HB 229 (Freitas) dealing with a formula for per student, noncredit enrollment based funding;
HB 397 (Keam) requiring input from the faculty senate twice a year, and in the selection process for a new president of an institution of public education;
HB 1157 (Tran) requiring a student voting member on every governing board of every institution of public higher education which would have increased the State Board for Community Colleges from 15 to 16 members; and…
HB 1319 (Aird) requiring SCHEV and the VCCS to collaborate on cloud computing training for instructional and information technology staff.
A number of bills were re-referred from the House Education Committee to the House Appropriations Committee and are on the docket to be heard later today.
Undocumented Students and In-State Tuition
SB 935 (Boysko and Hashmi) is headed to the Senate floor and would allow certain undocumented students to be eligible for Virginia in-state tuition. SB 935 applies to any student who attended high school for at least two years and either graduated on or after July 1, 2008 from a public or private high school or was home schooled in Virginia or passed a high school equivalency exam, and has a parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis who has filed Virginia state income tax returns for at least two years prior to the date of registering for enrollment in college, and registers as an entering student or is enrolled in a public college or university in Virginia.
HB 1547 (Lopez) was tabled in the Higher Education subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 5 but is back on their full agenda this afternoon. The VCCS has approximately 1200 undocumented students.