My latest column with the above title appeared in Wednesday’s Virginian-Pilot. Besides the reform commission, Governor Bob McDonnell established, via Executive Order #9, the Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment. He named the members to the committee in May. Information on the commission’s meetings including the presentations made at prior meetings can be found here.
A lot of the figures I used came from the website of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. One thing I wish that website had: an explanation of “base adequacy.” You will find it all over the stats there but it wasn’t explained. As best as I can determine, from talking to some people who deal with it all the time, “base adequacy” is an enrollment based calculation that the state uses in trying to determine its share of higher education costs. The Appropriations act says (my emphasis):
In determining the appropriate state share of educational costs for resident students, the General Assembly shall seek to cover at least 67 percent of educational costs associated with providing full funding of the base adequacy guidelines..
Of course, like the funding for public schools, the base adequacy guidelines fall short of what is necessary in order to educate students. On top of that, the funding is not “full.” Thus, the tuition increases.
Despite all the facts and figures, the bottom line is this: ODU is already doing what the commission deems important. And it’s doing it with less resources from the state than other institutions. That’s not right. It should get its share.