College leaders discuss costs of higher education

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 11:12 PM EDT
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WEYERS CAVE, Va. (WHSV) - Leaders of colleges and universities from around the Shenandoah Valley had a roundtable discussion on Tuesday morning at Blue Ridge Community College.

The following institutions were respresented:

  • Blue Ridge Community College, President, Dr. John Downey
  • Eastern Mennonite University
  • Shenandoah University
  • Mountain Gateway Community College
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Southern Virginia University
  • Radford University
  • Christendom College

U.S. Congressman Ben Cline who represents Virginia’s 6th Congressional District joined the discussion.

“To keep him informed about some of the challenges of higher education and kind of brainstorm some solutions to some of those challenges,” Dr. John Downey, president of Blue Ridge Community College said about Cline’s attendance. “And how working families are struggling to figure out the best way to educate the students and the workforce of the future.”

The leaders discussed the price of higher education and making it more accessible and affordable.

Downey said this is an annual meeting to discuss the pressures and trends in higher education.

”We talked about some of the workforce challenges we’re facing hiring really qualified faculty, particularly in certain disciplines, we talked about some of the inflationary challenges that we have with our budgets and then all of us supported increasing the Pell grant,” Dr. Downey

Leaders from both private and public schools, along with two-year and four-year institutes were represented at the round table.

“All of us benefit from federal funds like the Pell grant and other grants and opportunities,” Downey said.