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President's Corner: A positive state budget plan

This year's session of the Virginia General Assembly just began, and it bodes well for Old Dominion University.

Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam released his proposed budget for Virginia for the next two years. The budget plan, which must be approved by the Senate and House, helps propel us further toward meeting our most important objectives.

Overall, the introduced budget would provide Old Dominion with more than $132 million in new money over the biennium.

Most significantly, ODU would receive $22.5 million in new general funding, elevating our allocation to the highest level in the University's history. Of that total, $22 million would support enrollment growth and student-success programs in recognition of Old Dominion's commitment to serving underrepresented, low-income and other student populations. We would also receive $500,000 for a minority fellowship program in conjunction with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

The budget also would provide Old Dominion:

  • $8 million in additional funding for financial aid for low-income students from Virginia.
  • $83.7 million in capital funding for three projects: a new Health Sciences Building, planning for a new Biology Building, and stormwater improvements.
  • $7.4 million in additional funding for our maintenance reserve allocation and
  • $10.6 million in new money for the higher equipment trust fund.

In addition, as previously announced, Old Dominion would receive $29 million over the next two decades for the governor's Tech Talent Investment Program. This would enable us to increase the number of graduates in computer science and computer engineering to help fill the state's workforce needs.

In sum, these commitments would have a transformative effect on Old Dominion and the commonwealth. I thank Gov. Northam for his support of our mission. I also encourage you to talk to your representatives in the General Assembly in support of these initiatives, which would help Virginia and its students reach new heights.

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