By Dr. William Bosher, NBC12 Education Specialist
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Every year, some Virginia lawmakers work to find more seats for Virginia students in state colleges and universities.
This year's effort is House Bill #1696. The goal is to hold eight out of 10 seats for Virginians.
This would bring a big change to UVA, where slightly more than three students out of every 10 are from out of state.
William & Mary, JMU, Virginia Tech, VMI and Virginia State University also fall short of this standard.
What would be the cost to higher education in Virginia?
Is the charge of a university simply to equip young people with new skills and knowledge? Or does it also purport to help them address life's diversity and how it might be handled on a day-to-day basis? Some mix of other states and countries would certainly seem to provide this environment.
The University of Virginia has been ranked as the No. 1 public institution in America. Would it be afforded the same recognition as a "local" university?
From a financial perspective, this is an easy issue. The out-of-state students pay roughly three times the tuition of an in-state student. Virginia has even recognized this cost-saving principle by giving a voucher to each in-state student who attends a private university.
As for quotas, it's ironic that some of those argue to require an 80 percent in-state acceptance to UVA, William & Mary and Tech would be outraged by contrived limits applied to other admissions policies.
When writing legislation to set admissions on the standards for higher education in Virginia, perhaps a look at funding, programs and quotas should also include the reality that the governor appoints and the legislature confirms each trustee.
Trustees, in turn, hire highly-qualified administrators who run the day-to-day operation of their complex organizations.
Maybe we should let them set policies that reflect the needs of their students and institutions.
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