Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thanks to everyone who came out last
weekend for my Town Hall meeting. I always
enjoy the opportunity to share what is going
on in Richmond and to hear your thoughts
on the issues affecting our community. For
those of you who missed it, I have posted
the presentation at www.davidbulova.com.
If you live in Fairfax County, please
don’t forget to vote in the
special election this upcoming
Tuesday, February 3rd to choose the
next Chairman of the Board. All normal
polling locations will be open from 6:00 a.m.
to 7:00 p.m. I have a personal favorite in
this race, having known Supervisor
Sharon Bulova, aka Mom, for nearly
40 years… No matter your persuasion
though, please exercise your right to vote!
Back in Richmond, the pace has picked up
considerably as cross-over looms. Cross-over
– February 10th – is the date by
which the House and Senate must act on
legislation introduced in the originating
body. Any surviving legislation then goes on
to “the other side.”
The Higher Education Conundrum:
As a member of the Higher Education
Subcommittee, some of the toughest bills I
have voted on this session are ones that
propose to cap the percentage of out-of-state
students that can attend public
universities. One bill in particular (HB
1696) would cap out-of-state students for
each university at 20%. The concern that many
deserving in-state students are unable to
attend the Virginia school of their choice is
not lost on me – especially since I
have two children that are less than a decade
away from being college bound.
The problem, though, is that such a cap
without an increase in State funding
essentially amounts to the equivalent of
robbing Peter to pay Paul.
By way of background, the proportion of
in-state versus out-of-state students varies
widely from university to university. The
percentage of out-of-state students is
relatively high at Virginia State University
(34%), the University of Virginia (33%), and
the College of William and Mary (32%), while
it is relatively low at Virginia Commonwealth
University (11%) and George Mason University
(13%). The average for Virginia’s four
year institutions is 19%.
While well meaning, placing a cap on
out-of-state students has enormous
consequences on the cost of in-state
tuition. The average tuition (including
mandatory fees) for an in-state student is
$5,914. Sounds reasonable! However, this
figure is kept low not because of State
budget support, but rather because
out-of-state students pay $17,198 –
three times the amount of in-state students.
As a result, fewer out-of-state students
translate directly into either the need for
more State support or higher tuition.
According to the State Council for Higher
Education, the 20% cap would require an
additional $7.5 million in annual State
general fund support and result in a tuition
loss of $13.3 million.
Frankly, I believe that Virginia should
provide more financial support. Many of our
schools receive embarrassingly little to be
called public universities. William and Mary
receives only 18% of its operating support
from public sources. Virginia Tech receives
29%. The University of Virginia receives a
paltry 14%. However, until those figures are
increased, we need to be careful about caps,
or else many Virginians will find the cost of
tuition to be out of their reach.
I’ll have lots more to report next
week. In the meanwhile, don’t
forget to vote on Tuesday!