HJR 91: Joint Subcommittee Studying Ways
in which the Commonwealth May Work More Closely with Virginia's Private,
Nonprofit Colleges to Meet State Higher Education Needs
June 26, 2009
The Joint Subcommittee
Studying Ways in which the Commonwealth May Work More Closely with Virginia's
Private, Nonprofit Colleges to Meet State Higher Education Needs held
its first meeting on June 26, 2009, in Richmond.
the joint subcommittee's chairman, called the meeting to order. Because
the position of vice-chairman had become vacant, a new election was held,
and Senator Ruff was elected.
joint subcommittee staff presented a review of last year's activities,
including an overview of the joint resolution and the joint subcommittee's
charges. Staff also went over last year's presentations by the State Council
for Higher Education in Virginia, detailing current enrollment trends
and projections for the future, as well as a history of the Tuition Assistance
Grant (TAG) program.
Robert Lambeth, President
of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) spoke about
the valuable role that private institutions play in the higher education
system and how additional state assistance would benefit Virginia families.
Paul Baker, Vice
President of College Relations and Administration at Hampden-Sydney College,
and Robert Lindgren, President of Randolph-Macon College discussed their
experiences in financing capital projects without state assistance. Both
spoke about the difficulty in raising private funds sufficient to finance
Robert Lambeth also
provided the joint subcommittee with an overview of publicly supported
programs for private institutions in other states. 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 eventually added to the list of topics to be discussed
House Appropriations Staff
gave a higher education budget overview. Mr. Maggio explained that higher
education funding is divided into three different categories, with educational
and general programs being the category most often talked about. This
category includes instruction, research, and public service programs.
He then explained how state funding for higher education has fluctuated
over the years, depending on the economic state of the Commonwealth. He
also stated that while the Joint Subcommittee for Higher Education Funding
Policies was established to develop funding guidelines for public colleges
and universities in 1998, because of budget reduction requirements, the
guidelines were not actually used until the 2004 session. These guidelines
are intended to provide an objective analysis tool for higher education
funding. Mr. Maggio then gave a brief history of TAG funding, which has
increased from 59% of the general fund support (per full-time enrollment)
for students in four-year public institutions of higher education in 1993,
to 82% in 2009.
State Treasurer of Virginia
spoke regarding the Virginia College Building Authority. Ms. Ganeriwala
first gave an overview of the history and legal structure of the Authority,
with particular emphasis on the Private College Program. This program
allows the Authority to act as a conduit issuer, in order to give private,
nonprofit institutions access to the tax-exempt bond market. The bonds
issued through this program are in no way considered obligations of the
Commonwealth. She then walked the joint subcommittee through the application
process. Finally, she provided the joint subcommittee with information
on current outstanding bonds, totaling over $560 million.
Education Loan Program
an historical overview of the Virginia Education Loan Program, or VELA.
This program was started in 1972, in order to help Virginia students fill
in any gaps in funding after existing federal resources were exhausted.
In 1992, VELA was combined with the State Education Assistance Authority,
the state's guarantee agency, to comprise the Virginia Student Assistance
Authorities. The two authorities were governed by a single board of directors,
but maintained separate fund accounting. In 1995, legislation was passed
directing VELA to liquidate its assets; after a final sale in 1997 to
Sallie Mae, $64 million was deposited into the General Fund.
President, Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia
reiterated the importance of private institutions in educating Virginia's
citizens. He emphasized the cost-savings to the Commonwealth of educating
students in private institutions of higher education rather than public.
Mr. Lambeth again asked the joint subcommittee to consider successful
programs for funding private institutions in place in other states. He
asked the subcommittee to consider three separate issues in its remaining
- An increase in
Tuition Assistance Grant funding, in order to attract more students
to private institutions;
- Utilization of
the Commonwealth's authority to contract with private institutions to
provide education in specific areas at a lower cost; and
of the state-run student loan program.
The next meeting,
to be held at 1:00 p.m. on August 17, 2009, will focus on a review of
existing funding programs in other states and more information on Virginia's
former student loan program. The chair asked for more information on creative
ways to help fund private institutions of higher education.
The Hon. Phillip
Nicole Cheuk, DLS Staff
of Legislative Services > Legislative
Record > 2009