Posted on Monday, March 6, 2017

The General Assembly officially adjourned on Saturday, February 25, 2017. 

A bill summary of passed legislation which is of interest to the VCCS is attached. One of the final actions of the 2017 General Assembly was approving the revised budget bill. Top budget priorities for the VCCS in the 2017 legislative session included maintenance of the $1 million in additional funding recommended by Governor McAuliffe in FY 2017 for workforce credentials, ameliorating the recommended 5% budget cut recommended for FY 2018, and ensuring that faculty and staff were eligible for any salary increases recommended through the budget. The VCCS was successful in achieving these goals. 

  • The $1 million in additional funding recommended by Governor McAuliffe for workforce credentials in the current fiscal year was maintained. 
  • Compared to the estimated $22 million reduction proposed in the Governor’s original December budget, budget reductions for the education and general portion of the VCCS budget totaled $16.1 million. 
  • The budget included a 3% pay increase for classified staff and a 2% increase for faculty, effective July 10, 2017. (Eight public institutions of higher education which did not grant salary increases or bonuses will receive state funding for faculty to receive a 3% increase. The other institutions, including the VCCS, are authorized to use their own resources to arrive at the additional 1% for faculty). Any salary increases must be authorized by the State Board for Community Colleges.

Also included in the budget bill was language for the VCCS to achieve Level II Procurement Authority for Shared Services.

Other VCCS priorities that passed the 2017 General Assembly include:

Apprenticeship for Credit

HB 1592 (Del. James) and SB 999 (Sen. Ruff) authorized the State Board for Community Colleges to require each community college to develop policies and procedures for awarding academic credit to students who have a state-approved registered apprenticeship credential. 

Foster Care Tuition Grants

HB 1848 (Del. Hester) and SB 1032 (Sen. Favola) expanded VCCS’s foster care tuition grant program, which is now only available to foster care students pursuing academic credit instruction, to now include recipients pursuing workforce credentials. It is anticipated that the number of foster care youth being served will double because of this change. 

Military Tuition

HB 1721 (Del. Anderson) allows the State Board for Community Colleges to charge a reduced rate for tuition and mandatory fees for active duty military personnel who are stationed outside the Commonwealth, enrolled in a degree program at a community college and also enrolled in training that leads to a Military Occupational Specialty in the Army or Marine Corps, an Air Force Specialty Code, or a Navy Enlisted classification. The bill is the result of interest from senior leadership of Marines who were stationed at Quantico and Camp Lejeune, and who took classes at the Woodbridge campus of Northern Virginia Community College, and interest in making the same possibilities open to all Marines serving around the world. The legislation now also applies to all eligible military personnel stationed outside of Virginia. These students would be counted as non-Virginia residents for admissions and enrollment. 

Two-Year Transfer Grant; Expected Family Contribution

HB 1965 (Del. Massie) and SB1026  (Sen. Dunnavant) aligned the Code of Virginia with the Appropriations Act by increasing the Expected Family Contribution from $8,000 to $12,000. 

Previous Roundups this session covered legislation that improved the transferability and transparency of dual enrollment courses to four-year institutions; most notably HB 1662 (Del. Greason) and SB 1534 (Sen. Sturdevant). In addition, the following “Dual Enrollment Redesign” language was included in the budget; this language will provide time for a complete and thoughtful analysis of dual enrollment delivery, communication, and pricing.  

“The Virginia Community College System, in coordination with the Department of Education, the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, and the P-20 Council shall: (1) examine the rigor of dual enrollment general education courses; (2) establish structured dual enrollment career technical education and general education program pathways that lead to completion of certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees; (3) develop a process to create a dual enrollment general education course catalog that designates uniform transferability of courses to public four-year institutions of higher education; (4) develop guidelines for the implementation of improved transparent and accurate communication of dual enrollment course credit information to local school divisions, parents, and students; (5) recommend uniform pricing models for dual enrollment course delivery that sustain the affordability of dual enrollment offered by the Virginia Community College System and reflect the positive existing partnerships between local school divisions and Virginia’s 23 community colleges; and (6) develop shared funding recommendations for the delivery of early college high school programs. A report of the preliminary findings shall be delivered to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee by May 1, 2017, with a final report by May 1, 2018.

  1. For the 2017-18 school year, the Virginia Community College System shall allow school divisions and local community colleges that offer dual enrollment courses to negotiate different costs for dual enrollment courses held at the local community college where a previous agreement had existed in the past and where there would be no loss of revenue based on the previous agreement.”

Veto Session and Move to Pocahontas Building

The reconvened or “veto” session will be held on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. After that date, all of the occupants of the General Assembly Building will relocate to the Pocahontas Building, on the northeast corner of 9th and Main Streets. A map showing the configuration is attached. Most of the move is expected to occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Many committee meetings are expected to be held in House Room 3 and Senate Room 3, the large meeting rooms in the Capitol’s underground extension. The new arrangement in the Pocahontas Building will feature one committee room that will accommodate both the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. A welcome change will be bigger subcommittee rooms that should actually have a reasonable amount of seating to accommodate attendees.

More information to come as we get closer to the veto session on April 5. 

GAB Move Map

VCCS Bill Summaries'

Ellen Davenport

Ellen Davenport is assistant vice chancellor for governmental relations for the VCCS. She works with the Chancellor and Virginia's 23 community college presidents to advance the financial and policy priorities of the VCCS with the Virginia General Assembly and Congress.

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