Proposal might aid NCI

December 6, 2011

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

New College Institute stands to benefit from a state proposal to help more students with associate degrees obtain the funds necessary to transfer to four-year colleges and universities in Virginia, according to an NCI official.

Barry Dorsey, executive director of NCI, said the proposal is one of several recommended recently by the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

By increasing family eligibility income limits to more than $60,000, the proposal would enable more students to qualify for the $1,000 transfer grant, he said. Currently, families with incomes of up to $60,000 are eligible, he added.

The proposal did not specify what the new cap would be.

The $1,000 grant helps any in-state student who has completed an associate degree at a Virginia two-year public institution to go to a four-year school in Virginia to complete a bachelor’s degree, according to Dorsey and the SCHEV website.

To qualify, a student must have at least a 3.0 academic average on a 4.0 scale and be eligible for a Pell grant, among other qualifications, according to Dorsey and the SCHEV website. A Pell grant is a federal education grant.

Dorsey said the change would be an incentive for more Virginia students who complete associate degrees to go on to public four-year schools in the state. NCI offers bachelor degree completion programs through partnerships with a number of public four-year schools in Virginia.

Dorsey said he did not have an estimate of how many additional students this could mean for NCI. He noted that the change would not apply to programs that private higher education institutions offer in partnership with NCI.

NCI could significantly benefit indirectly from another recommendation by SCHEV, Dorsey said. That recommendation would provide additional incentives to Virginia public higher education institutions to enroll more in-state students. Public four-year schools would receive $2,800 for each additional in-state student enrolled in the first year of the biennial budget and $3,000 in the second year, Dorsey said.

Both recommendations next go to Gov. Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly, Dorsey said.

Those and other SCHEV recommendations are related to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, also known as the Top Jobs for the 21st Century (TJ21) legislation, according to the SCHEV website. The purpose of the act is to significantly increase college attainment with a goal of 100,000 new undergraduate degrees by 2025, according to the website.


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