Students support governor's college funding proposal

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many students and families get worried every time they hear the cost of college tuition is going up. Thursday, Governor McDonnell met with college students across the Commonwealth to talk about elevating education costs.

Governor McDonnell teamed up with Virginia 21 students to talk about making college more affordable for everyone.

The non-profit, bipartisan group is asking the legislature to approve funding in the state budget. Last year, the General Assembly unanimously passed the policies. Now, the governor wants to put them in place.

"It's the right partnership," said McDonnell. "It's the right time and we have overwhelming support from the business community, college presidents, and students."

Students from all over the commonwealth showed up wearing T-shirts marked with the debt they owe. They also brought 10,000 signed petitions from other students who support them. The average student is $23,000 dollars in debt by graduation.

"It's unacceptable, it's unsustainable and immoral," McDonnell noted.

Kim Harding spent four years in the air force. She's already $10,000 in debt, and this isn't the last of it.

"I'm looking to go to law school, and it's going to be an outrageous amount of debt," said Harding. "It's very important to me this gets passed.

"You can't start your career starting out $23,000 in debt," McDonnell added.  "It's just not going to work.

To fund the investment, McDonnell is asking universities to cut overhead costs. It's based off strategies to put more money into middle class financial aid, which include shifting the operating budget from administration and overhead to more degrees and technology. He says the current system needs improvement.

"Tuition is doubling every 10 years," McDonnell said. "We can't do it. It's the wrong policy. It's unsustainable. I decided we'll do something about.

More money into higher education could mean more jobs for students. Next, student will bring the signed petitions to lawmakers. They will  decide on the $200,000 million budget proposal.

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