University President Steven Knapp offered support for a proposed Virginia higher education bill, and asked lawmakers to keep incentives provided by the bill open to private universities last week as he visited legislators in Richmond, Va.
Knapp met privately with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to discuss the higher education bill, which incentivizes access to higher education for students in Virginia thinking of majoring in high-demand fields like science, technology, engineering, math and healthcare.
The governor’s goal is to issue 100,000 degrees in the state over the next 15 years. Knapp met with McDonnell to discuss GW’s role in relation to the bill, with Knapp supporting the bill’s extension to private universities like GW.
The same day Knapp met with McDonnell, Virginia’s General Assembly?recognized GW’s commitment to higher education in the Old Dominion state.
The Virginia Science and Technology Campus was recognized in both chambers of the Virginia legislature through resolutions thanking GW for its efforts in higher education and contributions to the economy. The resolutions commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Science and Technology Campus, and also noted the contributions the school has made with its students and more than 42,000 alumni in Virginia.
GW started offering?classes in?Hampton Roads, Va., in 1958.?Today, it?also offers courses in the Virginia cities of Arlington, Alexandria and Ashburn.?The Virginia campus was established in Loudoun County, Va., in 1991, and now houses the new GW School of Nursing along with other programs.
“We’re growing rapidly our presence in Virginia,” Knapp said, noting that the goal of the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 is consistent with GW’s efforts.
Knapp called GW “one of the important economic engines” in Virginia, and said the University can help meet a nursing shortage and demand for other fields.
While some of GW’s graduate tuition for the Virginia campus comes through the state’s Tuition Assistance Grant Program, Knapp said any funding for GW from the new legislation would come in the form of tuition assistance for Virginia residents to enroll at the University.
Incentives from the bill can help expand research and public-private collaborations, and Virginia’s proposed budget also includes $25 million to help universities commercialize their research findings, according to a University news release.
Knapp said other incentives in the works in separate legislation could include “tax incentives that make it easier to partner with companies.”
He noted that private companies helped build the University’s nursing program, and said GW wants to continue building partnerships and coalitions in the area.
More than 2,000 GW students currently take classes in Virginia, and GW?also has partnerships established with local schools like George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College and Shenandoah University. The University recently announced it is partnering with K12 Inc., based in Herndon, Va., to start The George Washington University Online High School.
Knapp said?GW’s reputation is “really growing” in Virginia, and?added that?McDonnell said he wanted to help GW in any way he could.