Jeff Schapiro and Tyler Whitley report on the RTD this evening that House negotiators have retreated on the chamber’s demand that Virginia colleges and universities take more out-of-state students.
The effort, led by northern Virginia Republicans Dave Albo, Clay Athey and Tim Hugo, passed the entire House. But it was opposed by the leaders and board members of the state’s most selective unversities and never really gained any traction in the Senate.
The ultimate outcome in the Assembly was not that surprising. The practical difficulty of dealing with the long-term financial implications of the change in a forty five day session is daunting, given the reliance of so many Virginia universities on the additional dollars provided by out-of-state tuition.
But before the universities spend too much congratulating themselves on their defensive prowess, they should recognize that the next battle may be the toughest one yet.
Bob McDonnell has already signaled that it is interested in raising the issue in his campaign for Governor. As he told Marc Fisher of the Post, our universities “need to put a premium on kids from Virginia. These are state schools and we need to change the rules to reflect this.”
McDonnell will be bringing the debate to an entirely new venue.
It will be fascinating to see if our colleges and universities can be as skillful in the court of public opinion as they are in the hallways and anterooms of Capitol Square.