Virginia House fails to pass in-state student increases

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March 3, 2009

12:26 PM

The Virginia House of Delegates adjourned for the year Friday without passing a trio of bills that would have raised the requirement of in-state students at some of Virginia’s public colleges and universities to as much as 80 percent.

The bills, proposed by Republican delegates Timothy Hugo ’86, David Albo and Clifford Athey Jr., would have affected students applying to Virginia colleges as high school students as well as transfer students. All three failed to pass through the House appropriations committee earlier this month.

HB 2475 and HB 1696, authored by Hugo and Albo, respectively, would have required that either 75 percent of undergraduate or 80 percent of all students at the College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and James Madison University are residents of the state of Virginia. Albo’s proposal included the Virginia Military Institute, University of Mary Washington and Virginia State University as well.

Currently, 67.9 percent of the College’s 5,806 undergraduate students are from Virginia.

Albo’s plan, which mandated the 80 percent quota, called for Virginia’s state institutions to increase their number of admitted in-state students by 1.3 percent annually, beginning in 2010, until the quota of in-state students was met.

HB 2324, proposed by Athey, would have required that 80 percent of transfer students admitted into Virginia state institutions are of Virginia residence. If schools failed to reach the 80 percent quota by 2010, the bill called for a cut of all state funding to the violating institution.

The three bills, which were referred to the appropriations committee Feb. 4, were analyzed by the state’s Department of Planning and Budget. The department released a 2009 Fiscal Impact Statement on each piece of legislation.

According to the department’s statement, if enacted, HB 2475 would have cost the state of Virginia $28,439,430 in the next fiscal year to help augment the $57,322,373 in tuition losses resulting from the bill, due to the fact that out-of-state student pay higher tuition. Under the proposed plan, the College would have suffered $7,870,500 in lost tuition.

Because of the nearly $30 million gap between what the state subsidy would have been to in-state schools and the actual total loss of tuition money, the statement determined that affected schools would have been forced to increase tuition.

Due to the 1.3 percent annual increase requirement for admitting in-state students laid out in HB 1696, the department’s Fiscal Impact Statement on the legislation forecasted a $13,276,986 annual tuition loss to the schools affected. Under this plan, the College would have suffered $1,440,120 in annual tuition losses.

The statement estimated that the College would have required 9.3 years to reach the new quota, resulting in a total loss of $13,393,116 in tuition to the school over that period of time. Once again, the statement determined that affected schools would have been forced to increase tuition.

The increase of in-state transfer students highlighted in HB 2324 would have cost Virginia institutions $11,444,043 in tuition losses. If enacted, the bill would have cost the College $866,232 in lost tuition. The losses would have once again ostensibly forced the College to increase tuition.

In fall 2008, 69.8 percent of the College’s 443 accepted transfer students were from Virginia.

As of March 3, all three bills were marked as dead on the General Assembly tracking website RichmondSunlight.com.

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