Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Governor Bob McDonnell - Don't Rob Higher Education

Unfortunately, I can't blame Bob McDonnell for this entirely, however:

A little-known provision in former Gov. Tim Kaine's final budget bill currently working its way through the General Assembly proposes something unheard of in higher education: taking a portion of mandatory student fees paid to universities and depositing that money in the state's bank account.

Higher education officials and advocates say it's not only an unfair "backdoor tax" on students and families, but that it could set a dangerous precedent for education funding.

This is completely different from taking general fund money [away]. This is private student money never intended to go to the state that the state is taking," said Steven Jones, executive director of Virginia21, a Richmond-based youth advocacy group. "It's a matter of the public trust."

Nice... not... the proposal would also dip into university reserve funds, including the interest that accrues on those accounts. Colleges around Virginia use those funds for capital projects, including dorm renovations, new student housing, and other projects.

At a time when workforce reductions and tuition increases are happening at every college in the state, Virginia cannot afford to rob higher education anymore. Remember, this is only the beginning... if Bob McDonnell gets away with this, he'll try this same tactic with elemetary and secondary education.