Virginia Community College System Redesign

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We need to get a handle on the costs of a higher education degree! We need to know the total cost of tuition, debt and fees, and we need to make every dollar a student and Virginian spends count. The Virginia legislature is working on solutions right now! Here are some examples:

If you earn a credit at a community college or through dual enrollment it should transfer to a four-year college and you shouldn’t have to pay to repeat it. There is legislation now in the General Assembly to ensure this is true, at least for core curriculum credits. This bill will standardize the curriculum across our 23 community colleges and ensure the quality of the courses is equally standardized. If you are working towards a four-year degree, it will also make clear exactly which classes you can take at the community college and which you should wait to take at the school from which you will get your degree.

Other legislation will standardize college award letters so that when a student gets accepted to several colleges she can compare the total cost and the expected total loan debt. That is what you need to make the best decision about total cost. That should be in place by 2019. Currently, award letters are so variable it can be confusing and even misleading and this contributes to more unexpected debt.

Virginia is also looking at developing a strategic plan for higher education. We need to understand all the costs to students beyond tuition and fees and there needs to be a clear commitment from the state that we will do our part to make college more affordable. Facilitating timely completion, recognizing alternative forms of learning, supporting credentials with work-place value and helping facilitate employment are some examples of how we will do this.

I’m Siobhan Dunnavant, I’m your state senator and this is some of my legislation to help solve the problem of escalating costs of education. I am committed to lowering the cost of getting an education that leads to a good job.

If you’ve had issues with credits not transferring or your just frustrated with the cost of your degree, I hope you’ll let me know by participating in the survey below.

Thanks for signing the petition, and I hope you will keep in touch so I can hear your voice on other issues, too. For more information or to see my other legislation check out my website here.

Thank you,