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Deeds Pushes College Scholarship Program

Rosalind Helderman

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds joined college students at Virginia Union University in Richmond this morning to unveil a series of new education proposals, including a new college scholarship program for students who agree to spend two years after school in public service.

Under the Virginia Forward plan, any student who got a B average or higher and committed to spend two years as a teacher, nurse, police officer or in "other needed fields" would receive up to 50 percent of their college tuition paid at public universities in Virginia.

Here's the cost breakdown on the program, a natural question as Gov. Tim Kaine announced big cuts to higher ed budgets Tuesday.

According to the campaign, the program would cost $9 million in its first year, and that's assuming that a rather aggressive 10 percent of college freshmen with B averages participated. By the end of four years, the program would cost $40 million year.

Deeds would look to two funding sources to pay the cost. First, he would do a study of property and equipment owned by the state and step up a state program to sell off surplus goods. Now, the state makes about $13 million to $15 million a year from such sales--land parcels and copier machines and aging equipment and the like, money that goes into the general fund, Deeds thinks with close examination, the state could up that figure to $28 million and, all of which he would put it to his new Virginia Forward Scholars Trust Fund.

Plus, he would put into the program the $12.5 million the state gets each year by going after tax scofflaws who have debts to the state. That money is now being used to pay off a treasury loan for a technology program that will be fully repaid by this spring, the campaign says.

Other Deeds education proposals include adding 5,000 children a year to the state's preschool program, expanding school efficiency audits statewide which, he says, could achieve $300 million in savings, and encouraging school systems to "expand education choices...whether that's through charter schools or other alternatives."

You can read more here.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 9, 2009; 11:35 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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