Rush proposing ‘Flat-Fee Degree’ program

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@www.southwesttimes.com

If you’re willing to commit to a job in a high-demand field, it’ll cost you less to attend a four-year public institution under a bill proposed by 7th District Delegate Nick Rush (R-Christiansburg).

Rush, who represents Pulaski County, thinks his bill will benefit both students and business by making college more affordable for students and increasing the workforce in fields that are short on labor.

“Skyrocketing student debt has become a deterrent to many seeking a college degree and an anchor for many college graduates who spend decades paying off student loans,” Rush said.

His “Flat-Fee Degree” legislation will help fill Virginia’s hard-to-staff jobs “without saddling students with this massive debt,” he says.

Under the bill, the State Council of Higher Education will determine what areas of study are needed to fill jobs that are in high demand. Students will have to commit early to a degree program in one of the high-demand fields in order to receive discounted tuition and reduced fees. The student also must complete the program within four years.

To provide an incentive for four-year public colleges and universities to offer a Flat-Fee Degree, each student pursuing such a degree will count 1.5 times for the purpose of enrollment growth, funding guidelines, degree completion, etc.

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