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Posted: August 25, 2011 at 10:48 am, Last Updated: August 25, 2011 at 11:03 am
The Office of State Government Relations is a busy place year-round. Over the summer, we’ll be particularly busy following the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment, which met for the first time since December on Thursday, June 16. Governor McDonnell opened the meeting with a ceremonial signing of the new higher education legislation that goes by the nickname “Top Jobs 2021″ or even shorter, “TJ 21″.
“TJ 21″ becomes effective on July 1, 2011. What are its key features?
Highlights of Virginia Higher Education Reform Act of 2011
- Establishes the goal that Virginia will produce an additional 100,000 degrees in the next 15 years.
- Establishes the Higher Education Advisory Committee. This group will make recommendations on a new funding model for higher education and an evaluation framework for institution.
- Emphasizes the importance of the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
- Incentivizes the use of facilities on a year round basis.
- Measures the economic prospects of all degrees.
- Encourages use of innovative instructional technology.
- The Governor’s desire is that Virginia’s institutions will grow enrollments to create spaces for in-state students rather than placing arbitrary limits on out-of-state students. In addition, the bill does not place new mandates on institutions, but instead incentivizes innovation and entrepreneurial behavior on the part of institutions.
- Communicates the spirit of the administration, legislature and Higher Education Reform Commission that higher education is an incredibly important state resource and that it should be among the state’s highest priorities as revenue forecasts improve.
- Lays out the basis of a new funding model which aspires to incentivize discipline on tuition increases for in-state students. Institutional funding will be determined in a way that considers two institutional and two student-based factors:
- Incentives for economic impact
- Basic Operations
- Need-based Financial Aid
- Per/Student Enrollment Growth
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