VBHEC Applauds $1 Billion Investment in Higher Education

Biennial Budget Approved Today Invests in College Affordability and Talent Development, Boosts Internship and Job Opportunities for Students

June 1, 2022

RICHMOND – The Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) today applauded members of the General Assembly for an historic budget vote that will improve higher education in the Commonwealth and boost Virginia’s economy by providing more than $1 billion in new state funding focused on college affordability and talent development.

The biennial budget, which now goes to Governor Youngkin for his consideration*, includes substantial new funding for various forms of student financial assistance, tuition moderation incentives, and other measures to enhance student access and success. The budget adopted by the General Assembly also advances talent development in the Commonwealth through notable investments in internships, talent pathway development grants, and high-demand degrees, including the tech-talent investment fund and advanced manufacturing. Other investments further Virginia’s talent and economic development goals by providing more competitive compensation for faculty and staff, funding research initiatives and capital outlay projects, and supporting institution-specific initiatives that will yield statewide and regional economic benefits.

“We are deeply grateful for the bipartisan and bicameral support that our ambitious investment proposals for higher education received in the biennial budget approved by the General Assembly today,” said Dennis H. Treacy, chair of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council. “This is the most significant investment in higher education in our lifetimes, and it will greatly enhance educational and job opportunities for many thousands of young and adult Virginians for years to come.”

Today’s legislative budget actions advance the major investment goals that VBHEC announced last fall as the current biennial budget process was just getting underway. On October 14, 2021, VBHEC issued its detailed “Growth4VA” policy recommendations and publicly called for an unprecedented $880 million in historic new investments for college affordability and talent development through Virginia’s top-ranked higher education system. In the nearly eight months since that announcement, VBHEC has partnered with the Council of Presidents for Virginia’s public higher education institutions, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the GO Virginia Foundation, and other groups to mobilize business, higher education, and community leaders and thousands of grassroots Virginians in support of the historic investment plan.

“The Virginia Business Higher Education Council was created a quarter century ago to call attention to the crucial connection between our higher education system and our state’s economy and to promote higher education policies and investments that maximize the positive economic impact,” said Dr. Donald J. Finley, who will retire as VBHEC’s president on July 1 after serving in that role since the organization’s founding. “Today’s historic budget action not only embraces our group’s longstanding vision; it shows that a large, bipartisan majority of our elected leaders share the vision and are committed to making Virginia the top state for talent.”


* Editor’s Note: Governor Youngkin approved the higher education budget provisions in June, and the new biennial budget went into effect on July 1.

Growth4VA is a campaign of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council