Va. House advances legislation to make community college tuition-free for some

Updated: Jan. 28, 2021 at 5:06 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Tuition-free community college for some is on track to become a permanent reality in Virginia.

Late Thursday, the Virginia House of Delegates passed HB 2204. The legislation covers community college costs, including tuition for low and middle-income students.

“The need for this before was there, it’s even greater now. Retraining. Getting Virginians back to work as soon as possible,” said House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, (D) 41st District.

The G3 program has three components: get skilled, get a job and give back.

“Complete two hours of work experience, community service, public service for every credit hour enrolled,” said Speaker Filler-Corn.

The caveat to all this is that you need to enroll in a community college program that leads to a job in a high-demand field. Filler-Corn says studies have shown programs like this could potentially increase a person’s income by 60%.

“From health care to public safety, early childhood, information technology, a wide variety of key industries,” said Speaker Filler-Corn.

Virginia Republican sources say GOP lawmakers are split on the exact details of the legislation but have supported similar programs in the past.

Over on the Senate side, a companion bill, SB 1405, made it out of committee on a unanimous vote last week. A full senate vote has not yet been set.

Meanwhile, Governor Ralph Northam supports the bill and has set aside $36 million in the state’s budget to fund the program.

“This has been a top priority but even more so now given where we are. Given this economic crisis in this pandemic,” said Speaker Filler-Corn.

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