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Statement by Gov. George Allen

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 6 - September 29, 1994

RICHMOND--Governor George Allen released the following statement regarding higher education:

Maintaining a quality system of higher education in the commonwealth, and making higher education affordable for Virginia students has been, and will continue to be, a top priority of the Allen administration. Our commitment to all Virginia parents and students to hold tuition increases to the rate of inflation is unwavering. As such, THERE WILL BE NO ACROSS-THE-BOARD CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION.

In order to keep a college education affordable for our students, however, we will be expecting greater efficiency from our colleges and universities. Indeed, the only way we will prevent a return to skyrocketing tuition rates is by requiring our state colleges and universities to run more efficiently.

Earlier this year, our administration restored $23.4 million to higher education, thereby halting the double-digit tuition increases of recent years. This critical funding was not restored to be squandered on bloated administrative costs or indefensible overhead expenses. I will not stand for such inefficiency and the parents and students of Virginia will not stand for it either.

The General Assembly agreed with me in the 1994 session. It recognized the need for greater efficiency when it passed a law requiring all state colleges and universities to develop a restructuring plan that will increase efficiency while maintaining quality services to students.

This year, when state agencies submit their budget plans, they ALL will be required to show where they can streamline or otherwise achieve efficiencies equal to 2 percent, 4 percent, and 6 percent of their budgets. To emphasize the serious nature of the higher-education restructuring plan mandated by the General Assembly, we have also requested that our state colleges and universities submit similar 2-percent, 4-percent, and 6-percent proposals.

Each 2-4-6-percent reduction proposal from our colleges and universities will be considered in relation to the overall effectiveness of each of their respective restructuring efforts. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THESE REDUCTION PROPOSALS WILL NOT BE IMPOSED IF A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY HAS SUBMITTED A SATISFACTORY RESTRUCTURING PLAN.

In fact, most of the colleges and universities have already begun to implement their restructuring plans. Through this process, several institutions, because of successful and effective planning, have been able to reallocate the savings created by their restructuring efforts back into ACADEMICS rather than wasteful overhead and administrative costs--a clear indication that efficiency can be achieved without any reduction to higher education.

Do not mistake the intentions of this administration in seeking efficiency in our higher-education system. Our obligation is to Virginia students and their parents, not to a stubborn determination to continue inefficient practices of the past.

Incidentally, there are those who seek to instill fear by implying that Virginians must choose between educating their children or protecting their families from violent crime. This is simply false. It's a matter of priorities, and when I ran for governor, I stated that public safety and education should be the top two responsibilities of state government. Our administration proceeds under that basic philosophy today.