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ERIC Number: ED511021
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan-6
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Toward Affordability: Policy Recommendations for Virginia Higher Education
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
In its 2007-13 strategic plan, Advancing Virginia: Access, Alignment, Investment, the State Council highlighted 12 strategic higher education initiatives that it believed were necessary to ensure Virginia's future. Key among these goals was improvement of the affordability of a college education in the Commonwealth. Recent events have reinforced the importance of affordability in higher education. The economic downturn the nation is currently experiencing is forcing Virginia to make unwanted cuts in higher education funds already appropriated, while at the same time parents and students are finding it harder to afford the rising tuition that reduced state funding engenders. In the recent Measuring Up 2008 report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Virginia was one of 49 states graded "F" for affordability. The report noted that poor and working-class families in the Commonwealth must devote 31% of their income, even after receiving aid, to pay the costs of a two-year public college. At a time when the economic success of a citizen, a state, or a nation is more and more directly tied to educational attainment, the U.S.--despite its high rates of participation in higher education--has the worst degree-completion rate among developed nations. While about 55% of young people in other developed countries have earned at least an associate's degree, the U.S. attainment percentage is only 42%. Moreover, information recently presented to the Council on Virginia's Future indicates that, in order to be competitive with the best-performing nations by 2025, the Commonwealth's higher education system will need to increase its annual degree production by 28%, with the public sector needing to increase degrees by 34% annually. Given that students cannot achieve what they cannot afford, improving (or at least maintaining) the affordability of higher education is central not only to achieving economic competitiveness, but also simply maintaining economic viability. Therefore, in order to advance public understanding of the need to improve affordability in higher education, the Council created an ad hoc committee in early 2008 to explore the subject. This document reflects the Council's perceptions of the various factors that impact affordability--both those within its control and influence as well as those outside--and outlines strategies and recommendations that the Council believes it and/or others should consider in addressing the various factors. Appendices include: (1) Understanding Affordability; (2) Early-Commitment Programs; and (3) Direct-Intervention Programs and Guidance for Creating Pilots Projects.
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. 101 North 14th Street, James Monroe Building, Richmond, VA 23219. Tel: 804-225-2600; Fax: 804-225-2604; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
Identifiers - Location: Virginia