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Va. college degree goal requires more enrollment

Wednesday - 1/16/2013, 1:29pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's goal for awarding additional degrees will require public and private higher education institutions to boost in-state enrollment by about 42,000 students over the next seven years, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia said in a new report.

The 2011 Top Jobs Act calls for public institutions to award an additional 100,000 associate and baccalaureate degrees by 2025. The report estimates private institutions need to award at least 15,000 additional degrees to meet the law's call for a "comparable increase".

To meet these goals, In-state undergraduate enrollment at public and nonprofit schools must increase to about 393,000 in 2020 from about 350,624 students in fall 2010, the report said.

Schools will face challenges in meeting the enrollment target, including a decline in the number of Virginia high school graduates, the report said. The number fell to 85,941 in 2011-2012 after peaking at 87,822 in 2008-2009, .

It also is becoming more difficult for students to afford to attend college. Total state funding per student is lower than it was 10 years ago, despite an increase in state appropriations during the past two years, the report said.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch ( http://bit.ly/VZR3VV) reports that the council heard a presentation on the report Tuesday.

Council member Stephen D. Haner said meeting the goal will require additional resources.

About 55 percent of Virginia's working-age population would hold at least an associate degree by 2025, if the goal is met. As of the 2010 census, 43 percent of this group held at least an associate degree.

A resolution approved by the council directs its staff to work with schools to develop enrollment projections and degree estimates so that they will meet the target.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com


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