Virginia’s new budget will take $10 million designated for state financial aid for undocumented students over two years and invest it in state aid for students at historically Black colleges and universities, The Washington Post reported.
Critics of the measure say it unnecessarily pits groups of students with high financial need against each other at a time when the commonwealth has a budget surplus. The measure’s defenders say it should be praised for directing funding to students at underresourced HBCUs.
Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, who signed the budget Tuesday, proposed that half of the earmarked funds go to state financial aid at Norfolk State University and Virginia State University, both public HBCUs. The other half will be used to increase Virginia Tuition Assistance Grants, state aid for students enrolled in private colleges and universities, to support students attending private HBCUs. The amount allocated to students at these institutions will rise from $5,000 to $7,500 per year.
The measure is among a slew of amendments proposed by Youngkin after state House and Senate negotiators came to an agreement on a two-year, $165 billion budget plan this month. The amendment about HBCU funding passed the Republican-controlled House and made it through the Senate with two Democrats supporting it.