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New Reports: Review of State Financial Aid and 2020-22 Higher Education Budget and Policy Recommendations

Nov 12, 2019, 07:25 AM by Elizabeth Liverman
The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) released two new reports that provide strategies to further align funding and policies to meet the Commonwealth’s goal of becoming the best-educated state by 2030.

Contact: Wendy Kang
(804) 225-4416

November 8, 2019

For immediate release

RICHMOND — The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) released two new reports that provide strategies to further align funding and policies to meet the Commonwealth’s goal of becoming the best-educated state by 2030. The reports focus on improving affordability, completion, talent development, quality and equity.

The first report, a Review of Financial Aid Funding Formulas and Awarding Practices is based on a study of the Commonwealth's need-based financial aid program that provides approximately $223 million annually to help in-state students at public institutions. Key findings include:

  • While low-income students receive the majority of state aid and have higher average awards than middle-income students, their amount of remaining need after accounting for the additional financial aid support remains higher than middle-income students.
  • Various studies indicate a correlation in the amount of remaining need (referred to as unmet need) and completion. For each $1,000 increase in remaining need, the chances of completion decrease.
  • As a result of the relationship between remaining need and completion, SCHEV adjusted its formula for calculating institutional financial aid and recommended an increase in financial aid of $45 million for the upcoming biennium.
  • Staff plans to continue to review additional areas of the financial aid program in the coming year that will focus on awarding practices to students and how institutions account for financial aid awards.
The  second report focuses on SCHEV’s 2020-22 Higher Education Budget and Policy Recommendations. It includes recommendations related to higher education operations and financial aid. SCHEV recommends an additional $212 million for the biennium in the areas of operations and financial aid. Key recommendations are in the following areas:
  • Affordability and excellence ($113.5 million): Recommendations focus on efforts to support growth in operational costs at the institutions with the expectation that additional support will lower the impact of tuition and fee increases; growing need-based financial aid for low- and middle-income students; and increasing the Tuition Assistance Grant program to students attending private, nonprofit institutions.
  • Access and success ($73.3 million): Recommendations focus on improving information and resources available to students; substantially increasing funding for Virginia’s community colleges; and investing in institutional efforts to improve access and completion.
  • Talent development ($18.7 million): Recommendations focus on expanding the impact of the newly established statewide innovative internship program; supporting investment in instruction-related and research equipment; increasing funding to support the Tech Talent Investment Program; and establishing an ongoing review of supply and demand to improve the alignment between institutional programs and workforce shortages.
  • Efficiency, effectiveness and planning and other areas of support ($6.9 million): Recommendations focus on opportunities to support more stable tuition and fees growth in the coming years. This includes a review of costs and funding models and considering options to allow institutions and the state to save for a potential economic downturn through reserve funding and other strategies. In addition, the recommendations include support for agency efforts and collaborative initiatives.
SCHEV also includes recommendations to support capital projects and maintenance reserve funding for institutions.


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The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia is the state’s coordinating agency for higher education. With The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, SCHEV is dedicated to making Virginia the best-educated state by 2030. For more on The Virginia Plan, please visit

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