The Virginia General Assembly has passed legislation that will allow Norfolk State University and Virginia State University – the Commonwealth’s two state-operated HBCUs – to offer in-state tuition rates to any out-of-state student who has completed 30 credit hours of college coursework in data science and technology, science and engineering, health care, or education. If an out-of-state student being charged a reduced tuition rate were to switch to another program not leading to a job in a high-demand field, they would be charged tuition at the full rate for non-Virginia students.
Sponsors of the legislation presented evidence that students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in these programs are likely to stay in Virginia after completing college. Thus, the new program aims to produce graduates who will fill workforce needs in the state.
The original legislation would have permitted all state-operated universities to offer in-state tuition rates to these students, but that was amended so that only Norfolk State and Virginia State would be permitted to do so.
Mike Cherry, a GOP delegate from Colonial Springs who was a sponsor of the legislation, told the Virginia Mercury that “we wanted the legislation to be very narrowed, because we were trying to help our HBCUs to recruit highly qualified people for the high-demand jobs that are available here in Virginia.”