RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) and Growth4VA Tuesday released a chart that details Virginia’s per-student state support of higher education in 2020 compared to neighboring states Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee and the United States average. The commonwealth trailed all four states and the U.S. average
In 2020, Virginia spent $6,519 per student on higher education compared to $10,742 in North Carolina, $10,969 in Tennessee, and $8,800 in Maryland. The U.S. average was $8,636.
Thus, Virginia leaves it to students and families in the commonwealth to cover a larger share through tuition and fees than do its neighbors and the country at large.
VBHEC chair Dennis H. Treacy, said, “Virginia’s top-notch higher education system sets us apart, but we will not maintain that advantage or keep our best-state-for-business ranking unless we meet the competitive challenge by making critical investments. Affordable access to higher education is the key to better jobs for Virginians and a world-class workforce.
“With the $2.6 billion budget surplus [as reported by the Northam Administration in July] and other resources, we have a once-in-generations chance to invest in opportunity for all our students and to make Virginia the top state for talent. We believe there’s no better investment right now than higher education.”
A recent statewide survey released by Growth4VA indicated that 90% of Virginians in both parties agree that providing Virginians with degrees and credentials that lead to good jobs in the new economy is the most important investment the state can make.
VBHEC has applauded recent bipartisan efforts in Virginia to reinvest in higher education and has expressed appreciation to the governor and the general assembly. But a large gap remains, and the current level of state funding falls far short of the commonwealth’s own declared goal.
“Ten years ago, the governor’s higher ed commission and General Assembly set a goal that students and their families should only have to pay one-third of college costs, said Todd A. Stottlemyer, VBHEC’s treasurer and CEO of IT service management company Client Network Services, Inc. (CNSI), based in Maryland. “Despite a lot of good efforts, the state still is not paying two-thirds. It’s paying about half. Now is the time to meet that two-thirds goal and, in the process, answer the competitive challenge posed by neighboring states.”