VCCS hopes for nursing program growth and additional advisors are in the hands of Virginia lawmakers - VCCS

VCCS hopes for nursing program growth and additional advisors are in the hands of Virginia lawmakers

Home|Blog|VCCS hopes for nursing program growth and additional advisors are in the hands of Virginia lawmakers

By Ellen R. Davenport, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations

Photo of Ellen Davenport

Davenport

Virginia lawmakers have proposed literally thousands of actions at the 2022 General Assembly.

Senate budget amendments and House budget amendments are now available for viewing. On Friday, Governor Youngkin also unveiled his own set of  budget amendments along with his Day One Game Plan legislative agenda.  All of the budget amendments will go into the mixing bowl for consideration by the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.

Budget amendments were secured and filed for the VCCS’s top priorities for nursing capacity and additional advisors, and college representatives are encouraged to continue advocating for these priorities in the coming weeks. The Nursing Capacity amendments were filed by Senator Ghazala Hashmi, and Delegates Cliff Hayes and Mark Sickles, all of whom are members of the Joint Commission on Health Care. The JCHC formally endorsed our nursing capacity proposal.

The advisor amendments follow recommendations from JLARC’s 2017 report on the Operations and Performance of the VCCS and will reduce the ratio of VCCS advisors to students from 1:1600 to 1:1170. Increasing the number of advisors by 60 each year will particularly help first generation students, older students, and students from disadvantaged populations and will support the goals of Opportunity 2027, the VCCS’s new strategic plan.

Governor Youngkin greets GA members

Governor Youngkin greets legislators

Other budget amendments which have come to light include:   

  • Adding behavioral health as a G3 track
  • Increasing two-year transfer grants for behavioral health majors by $1,000
  • Increasing two-year transfer grants by $2,000 for nursing students
  • Creating a sonography program at Rappahannock Community College
  • Funding a new workforce building at Mountain Empire Community College, and
  • Providing a $500,000 state investment in the VCCS’s Great Expectations program to establish a grant program to our colleges for the hiring of coaches or mentors and housing, child care, and transportation stipends. This is a recommendation of the Virginia Commission on Youth.

Other legislation of note

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn has filed HB 1264, which would increase the maximum award for the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant/FastForward program from $3,000 to $4,000, per completed eligible program, per eligible student. Delegate Filler-Corn has also filed a companion budget amendment to increase the appropriation to accompany this increase to the cap by $1,500,000 in FY 2024. If enacted, this would increase the FastForward appropriation from $13,500,000 to $15,000,000.

The only safe prediction between now and the legislature’s adjournment, scheduled for March 12, is that there are bound to be surprises.

Stay safe and warm.

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