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Panel OKs bills aimed at college affordability

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Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-19 17:46:31-05

RICHMOND, Va.  – Two bills aimed at making college more affordable were approved unanimously Monday by the House Appropriations Committee.

The bills, both introduced by Majority Leader Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, would cap student athletic fees and give certain schools more administrative flexibility. The measures won endorsements Monday from the Appropriations Committee’s Higher Education Subcommittee and then from the full panel. They now go to the entire House of Delegates for consideration.

House Bill 1895 would grant several of Virginia’s smaller and mid-sized public colleges and universities additional administrative authority regarding information technology, procurement, and capital projects.

House Bill 1897 would limit the amount of athletic revenue that colleges and universities collect from mandatory student fees. The caps would apply differently to Virginia’s Division I, Division II and Division III schools. Institutions would have five years to incrementally reduce mandatory student fees as a percentage of overall athletic revenue.

“Making college more affordable is a central focus of our agenda this year, and these two bills are first steps towards doing that,” Cox said in a statement. “We cannot continue to saddle our young people with massive student debt.”

Speaker William J. Howell of Stafford agreed.

“Virginia students are borrowing over $1 billion per year to pay for college, and that’s going to hurt their long-term prosperity,” he said. “These are good bills to help make college more affordable for families and students. I look forward to their final passage later this week.”

By Stefani Zenteno Rivadineira/Capital News Service
Capital News Service is a flagship program of the VCU School of Mass Communications. Students participating in the program provide state government coverage for Virginia’s community newspapers and other media outlets, under the supervision of Associate Professor Jeff South.