Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015

Budget Reports and Crossover Fast Approaching

The Senate Finance Committee will report out its budget amendments on Sunday at 12:00 noon.  The House Appropriations Committee’s budget amendments will be made public at 1:00 p.m. Information contained in the reports of interest to the VCCS will be communicated to you as soon as possible; the detailed “half sheets” will not be ready until noon on Tuesday, 2/10.  On the same day, all bills will need to have passed their house of origin, or “crossed over” to the opposite house to remain viable. 

Update on Bills to Cap Tuition and Fees

There is a lot of interest among the public and with General Assembly members in capping the cost of getting a bachelor’s degree. It is too early to tell where the legislation will end up, but (as of today) there is interest in having the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia provide creative solutions to address the concerns.

Two Senate bills have been sent to study.  SB 806—Stanley and SB 1183 –McWaters require boards of visitors of public four-year public institutions to prospectively fix the cost of tuition, room and board, and other mandatory fees for incoming in-state freshmen undergraduate students for four consecutive years. The bills were heard in the Senate Education and Health Committee on February 5 and were “passed by indefinitely.” Instead, the Chairman of Senate Education and Health is sending a letter to the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia asking them to study the issue.

HB 2320 (Cline) originally would have required the Secretary of Education to work with the two-year and four-year institutions to design a four-year degree at a cost of $16,000; if this effort was unsuccessful, additional work would commence with SCHEV and legislators to establish Western Governors University in Virginia to allow students to receive an inexpensive online degree in four years.  The bill was amended this week in the House Education Committee and it now directs the Secretary of Education and Director of SCHEV to work with each two-year and four-year public or private, nonprofit institution of higher education to establish and advertise a cooperative degree program so that any undergraduate student may use online courses to receive a degree at a tuition cost not to exceed $4,000 per year.  The study is to be finished by October 1, 2016. 

HB 1692 (Rush) would allow for discounted tuition rates, flat-rate tuition, and discounted or flexible fees.  HB 1692 requires the approval of SCHEV for design and implementation of the fee structure, and passed the House of Delegates yesterday.

HB 1897 (Cox) limits the sum of college funds and fees on athletics programs, depending on the school’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)  division classification. This bill only applies to four-year public institutions.

Status of College Sexual Assault and Reporting Bills

As reported in the January 16 “Roundup,” a number of bills were filed this year to address the issue of sexual assault and reporting of campus sexual violence. All Virginia community colleges are held to the federal standards of the Clery Act and Title IX. Each school is tasked with updating their policies to ensure compliance. In addition, all Virginia community colleges have threat assessment teams and have been provided with guidance on Title IX;  each college with a police department is required to complete a Memorandum of Understanding with the Virginia State Police which indicates that resources will be shared upon request for any felony sexual assault. In addition, the Clery Act requirements state that colleges must publish sexual assault information in their Annual Security Report.

The bills have been consolidated, and there are currently three bills working their way through the House of Delegates (HB1785—Massie, HB 1930—Bell, and HB 1888 –Jones ) and three bills advancing in the Senate (SB 712—Black, SB 1329–Garrett, and SB1193—Norment). The bills can be divided into three categories:  reporting of sexual assaults (HB 1930 and  SB 712 ), referral of victims to resources through memoranda of understanding and strengthening the role of local law enforcement and campus police (HB1785 and  SB 1329 ) and notations on students’ college transcripts of sexual assault charges (HB 1888  and SB1193). 

As the bills are changing daily, a side-by-side analysis is attached that was current as of this morning. These bills are currently “works in progress,” and it is anticipated that they will ultimately be worked out through the conference committee process. 

Paul D. Camp Nursing Program Recognized by Resolution

Paul D. Camp Community College was recognized  with a commending resolution on February 3.  SJ322  commends  PDCCC on the ten- year anniversary of its successful nursing program. The resolution was patroned by Senator Louise Lucas and Delegate Rick Morris.

VCCS Blog and General Assembly Student Visits

Look for some of the highlights of this week’s student visits to the General Assembly on our blog. Check out student stories by selecting the “student stories” category. 


Pictured above:  Wytheville Community College President Charlie White (right) walks the halls at the General Assembly with his students.'

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.


  1. ?

    Mark Mansfield

    Good afternoon, Ellen. What is your sense of HB 1897 and its likelihood of being signed into law this session of the VGA?

    • ?

      Ellen Davenport

      Mark, I think there is a good probability that HB 1897 will pass. The bill is a result of the November JLARC report on “Addressing the Cost of Public Education in Virginia.”


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