Changing the equation

Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell speaking at...

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (Image via Wikipedia)

Yesterday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced a new initiative for the commonwealth and changed the equation for higher education in Virginia.

Over the next 15 years, the governor announced, the state’s goal is to produce 100,000 more college degrees. To support this goal, Virginia will allocate $100 million to higher education over the next biennium. “It is a significant investment in higher education,” he said. He also called on Virginia’s public and private institutions to consider how they spend their funds and to aggressively seek “efficiencies.”

It is good news for James Madison University and for every public and private institution of higher education in the state, for every parent and student who dreams of a college education. Citing a recent and steady trend of increasing tuition and decreasing state funding, the governor said it is time for a change. Tuition must come down, funding must go up, and government must be wise and responsible with every education dollar.

Of special interest to the governor is the necessary support of degrees in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM courses.  These, the governor said, are critical for job growth and economic health of the commonwealth moving forward.

Joining Governor McDonnell at the podium, JMU President Dr. Linwood Rose, chair of the Virginia Council of Presidents, thanked the governor and called the state’s initiative “exceptional given the times in which we live in.” Rose also reiterated the governor’s belief of “how critical a healthy higher education system is to successful economic vitality to our state.”

By increasing funding on higher education, the commonwealth is investing in the future. Del. Steve Martin, who chaired the governor’s commission on higher education which produced the recommendations, perhaps said it best: “Virginia has a higher education system we can all be proud of…..Public investment in higher education makes sense. There is nothing comparable in state government, which delivers the rate of return on investment than spending on higher education.”

To learn more about JMU’s economic impact, visit http://www.jmu.edu/economicimpact/

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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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