During a press conference at Virginia Tech, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia plans to use $111 million in American Rescue Plan funding to increase access to financial aid for low- and moderate-income undergraduate students.
The proposal will give $100 million of that amount to Virginia's public colleges and universities through the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, with the other $11 million going to private institutions eligible for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant program.
“The economic uncertainty of this pandemic has led many to question whether a college degree was still an affordable reality,” Northam said. "Our Administration has worked hard to make higher education accessible to every Virginian, and this targeted investment represents a significant stride towards that goal. Increasing access to financial aid will help create more equitable pathways to opportunity and put a world-class education within reach of even more students.”
The announced investment is in addition to $833 million that will be made available to Virginia's colleges and universities through the American Rescue Plan Act's Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III.
According to Northam's office, higher education institutions will directly receive the funds, which must be used for student financial assistance as well as qualifying institutional purposes.
The proposal also commits $10 million to enhance the Online Virginia Network, which facilitates online coursework and degrees from George Mason University, Old Dominion University, James Madison University and community colleges.