Virginia General Assembly Higher Education Legislative Review

Virginia General Assembly Higher Education Legislative Review
October 01, 2011



A glance at actions effecting higher education in Virginia.

President Steven Knapp, Virginia Campus Chief Academic Operating Officer Craig Linebaugh, Dean of the School of Nursing Jean Johnson, Dean of the College of Professional Studies Kathleen Burke, and several others visited Richmond to highlight GW’s presence in Virginia and advocate for specific bills. President Knapp and Dean Johnson met with Governor McDonnell. Craig Linebaugh talked with legislators about the Virginia Science and Technology Campus and highlighted research and academic programs being conducted there. Collectively, the group conducted over 50 legislative visits and also met with Lieutenant Governor Bolling and two cabinet secretaries. The group was recognized on the floor of the House of Delegates by Delegate Tag Greason and in the Senate of Virginia by Senator Mark Herring.

Legislative Items of Note

GW Virginia Commending Resolutions
The General Assembly passed resolutions commending The GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus on its 20th anniversary.
View Resolution

Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG)
New legislation clarifies which private, non-profit institutions of higher education are eligible to receive the Tuition Assistance Grant, a financial award given to Virginia residents attending private colleges and universities in Virginia. GW successfully maintained TAG eligibility for full time graduate students in health-related fields with the passage of this legislation.

Research and Development Tax Credit
The General Assembly passed a bill and allocated funds for a new Research and Development Tax Credit. Companies will receive a 15% tax credit up to a certain amount for conducting research and development, and a 20% credit up to a certain amount for partnering with a public or private college or university.

Governor McDonnell’s “Top Jobs for the 21st Century”
Higher Education Reform Bill

Following recommendations from his Higher Education Reform Commission, Governor McDonnell proposed legislation aimed at creating 100,000 new degrees in the Commonwealth by 2025. Below are some highlights of the omnibus legislation:

  • Creates a STEM public-private partnership. The partnership will advise on the need for high-demand degree enrollment, capacity, and resources at Virginia’s public and private institutions; best practices in STEM instruction; teacher preparation/development in STEM; financial incentives to increase STEM enrollment and degree production; assistance to public and private institutions in acquisition and improvement of STEM related equipment; assessing the "marketplace value" of STEM degrees, etc.
  • Addresses tuition and fee structure and oversight for public institutions of higher education.
  • Outlines a set of economic and innovation incentives for institutions of higher education that may be recommended by the Governor and funded by the General Assembly.  Incentives may include:
    • Increased enrollment of VA students, in addition to per-student funding;
    • Increased degree completion for VA residents who have partial credit completion for a degree;
    • Increased degree completion in a timely or expedited manner;
    • Improved retention and graduation rates;
    • Increased degree production in STEM and other high-need areas such as health care;
    • Increased research, including regional and public-private collaboration;
    • Optimal year-round utilization of resources and other efficiency reforms to reduce total institutional cost;
    • Technology-enhanced instruction, including course redesign, online instruction, and resource sharing;
    • Enhanced community college transfer programs and grants and other enhanced degree path programs


  • Creates a new Higher Education Advisory Council (HEAC) to provide advice and make recommendations on a number of matters related to higher education funding formulas and oversight of public institutions.  The HEAC will consist of legislative and executive branch members, five presidents or their designee of public institutions (including one community college), and one president of a private institution.