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2009 News Releases
Longwood University endorses Grow By Degrees campaign
June 22, 2009
Longwood University President Patricia Cormier has pledged her support of the Grow By Degrees campaign (www.growbydegrees.org) launched on June 22 by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC). The goal of the program is to promote economic growth in Virginia through higher education.
"Most people today do not realize that higher education in Virginia is at a tipping point. Budget cuts, higher enrollments, and increased fixed costs have taken a toll on the institutions," said Cormier. "I am very appreciative of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council's initiative to make people aware of the crisis facing higher education and to emphasize the importance of higher education to the State's overall economic vitality. It will take citizens, business leaders and elected leaders working together to forge a new approach for funding higher education to ensure an educated workforce -- a requirement for the State to attract new businesses and keep existing businesses."
The launch of the Grow By Degrees campaign is the first of its kind and is intended to initiate a dialogue of creative, innovative and cost effective ways of achieving the coalition's primary goals and objectives. Members of the coalition will work with Virginia lawmakers and key decision makers to turn the seven priorities (listed below) into substantive policy proposals that can help get Virginia back on the path to economic recovery. The organization's website - www.growbydegrees.org - provides an interactive platform for Virginia residents to participate in the dialogue and help shape the future of higher education in the Commonwealth.
Grow By Degrees supports a comprehensive funding and strategic plan for higher education based on the following priorities:
- A 10-year program of investment designed to award 70,000 additional degrees by 2020
- Concentration on high-income, high demand sectors such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
- Create cost-efficient new ways to access college degrees
- Expand job-specific training at Virginia's broadly popular and affordable community colleges
- Invest in and promote privately funded university research activity that creates a measurable number of new jobs
- Establish a regional system that promotes economic development and workforce training with colleges and universities as partners
- Make college more affordable for low and middle-income students and families
"It is a startling reality that 75 percent of voters we polled in Virginia say a college degree is needed to succeed in today's economy, but only 35 percent of college age Virginians enroll in college and only 42 percent of Virginians have college degrees. We need to do something to turn those numbers around and we need to take action now," said VBHEC Chairman Heywood Fralin.