Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2008

HJR 91: Joint Subcommittee Studying Ways the Commonwealth May Work with Private, Nonprofit Colleges to Meet Higher Education Needs

October 20, 2008

The joint subcommittee held its meeting in Richmond. As Chairman Hamilton was in another meeting, vice-chairman Delegate Hall opened the meeting, with Chairman Hamilton joining shortly thereafter.


Paul Baker, Hampden-Sydney College
Paul Baker gave a detailed presentation on Hampden-Sydney’s recent experience building a new library. In total, it was a 20-year project, conceived in 1987 and ready for occupancy in 2007. He spoke of the difficulties in having to raise the $18 million required for this project with no state aid. Fundraising for the project began in 2001, and is still ongoing. When asked if Hampden-Sydney considered using the Virginia College Building Authority, he replied that the college looked into it, but the process was cumbersome and not the most cost-efficient option.

Robert Lindgren, Randolph-Macon College
Robert Lindgren spoke more generally about capital projects. He underscored the difficulties in raising money for capital projects without state assistance. He mentioned that most donations are not made for building purposes. If the project is for renovations of existing structures, which have presumably already been named, the challenges are even greater.

He also spoke about his experience in Maryland, when he was working for Johns Hopkins University. There he took advantage of a Maryland program, where each year the legislative body appropriates $8-$9 million to the state’s equivalent of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, which is then doled out to private institutions for capital projects. Having state support for a program also helped lure private investors. When asked, he also stated that while Randolph-Macon has in the past used the Virginia College Building Authority, it is not the most cost-effective method of financing a project.

Robert Lambeth, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia
Robert Lambeth provided the joint subcommittee with an overview of publicly supported programs for private institutions in other states. Several states provide support for capital projects, similar to the Maryland program, although Maryland appears to be the only state that provides regular, annual support.

Mr. Lambeth pointed out that Virginia is currently one of only 11 states that does not offer a state-sponsored student loan program. Members were interested to learn this, and it was added to the list of topics to be discussed next year. Forty-eight states, including Virginia, offer state funding to students attending private institutions. Four states offer additional state funding to private institutions, based on either enrollment, enrollment of low-income students, in-state enrollment, or degree completion.

Mr. Lambeth explained that there are a variety of additional measures states have taken to assist private institutions, including tuition tax credits or deductions, special funding for high needs areas, such as nursing, and a state match program to encourage federal or private research funding. In addition to his presentation, he also provided members with a binder full of detailed information on various state programs.

Next Meeting and Work Plan

Staff presented a tentative two-year work-plan and the members added several topics for discussion. The joint subcommittee will not meet again until the 2009 interim, but permission will be sought to carry over the two unused meetings from 2008. The next meeting will most likely be sometime during the spring of 2009.

The Hon. Philip Hamilton

For information, contact:
Nicole Cheuk and Jessica Eades, DLS Staff

Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2008

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