Thursday, June 25, 2009

Virginia business coalition says investing in higher education is the surest path to future prosperity

The Grow By Degrees coalition says sustained funding of higher education is critical to the state's economic well being ...


A coalition of Virginia business leaders says the way to kick start the state's economy and insure future prosperity is to mandate proper funding for higher education in spite of the current economic doldrums.

The goal of a campaign launched this week by the Virginia Business Higher Education Council is to promote economic growth through high-impact investment and innovation in Virginia’s colleges, universities, and community colleges.

Grow By Degrees advocates a sustained, long-term program of higher education investment and reform, embodied in state law, to ensure affordable access for Virginia students and to generate strong economic activity and growth revenues for the Commonwealth.

Prominent business leaders in the Grow By Degrees coalition include Medical Facilities of America CEO W. Heywood Fralin; Dominion Resources President Thomas F. Farrell II; and Landmark Communications former President John O. “Dubby” Wynne.

“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,” said VBHEC Chairman Heywood Fralin. “There is a broad gap between Virginians’ expectations and reality, and to turn those numbers around we need to take action now.”

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