Plan in Works to Make Higher Education Affordable

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

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WEYERS CAVE, Va. (WHSV) -- The State Council of Higher Education has approved a recommendation that could help community college students get their four year degrees.

It's only a proposal right now, but it could allow students who complete their associate degree at a community college to transfer to another college to earn their four year degree and pay similar tuition to what they paid at community college.

Usually the tuition at community college is less than at state universities.

If the proposal passes, students could also transfer to private schools and get grant money as well, although that would be the average charge of the public schools.

The exact details of who would meet requirements for this are still being worked out, but a similar program now requires a 3.0 GPA and some financial need.

This proposal would expand that program even more.

"What this does is reduces the overall cost of higher education for these students, and guarantees that if they start out at the community college and get their degree, and they have financial need, then they can go on to the four year college and finish that degree," said Dr. John Downey, the president of Blue Ridge Community College.

Grand money would be used to fund the program that's estimated to cost the state nearly $9 million extra for the first year and $10 million for the next year.

The council's recommendation is being passed on to Governor McDonnell and he will introduce his budget to the General Assembly in December.


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