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With the financial consequences of the Great Recession still impacting states heavily, Virginia’s ability to economically support its 15 public higher education facilities has become a massive challenge. As Virginia pushes forward in its attempts to combat these outcomes, access to higher education should be at the forefront of their agenda. Equal access to higher education for all students in Virginia cannot be met through the state’s current economic policies. The inadequate amount of money spent on funding for Virginia’s public universities is only the beginning of the state’s inability to sufficiently support its higher education programs. Research of Virginia’s budget and policies regarding higher education shows a sharp decrease in the amount of state spending per full time student, ultimately hurting low-income and middle class student’s ability to access higher education. Through a close examination of federally and state funded investigations of higher learning institutions, along with scholarly studies done by individuals and groups, such as the College Board, prominent in the field of education, I have found that within the state of Virginia, significant portions of Virginia’s budget have been taken away from higher education over the past 20 years. This finding is in addition to Virginia’s inability to fund the vast number of students entering college and the current amount of power Virginia’s legislators and governor allow each university’s board of visitors to have over their schools budget.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Political Science

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Elizabeth Kreydatus


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

Public College or Private Business? Virginia’s Higher Education Problem