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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed student aid cuts are aimed at online students; measure will affect military, minority, and lower-income students

Liberty University has reviewed the impact of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed budget which eliminates ALL Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant aid (VTAG) from online students. This will affect students throughout the state at many colleges and universities.

Liberty data shows that the student groups include 26% minorities, 18% African-American, 18% military families, 65% lower-income students, and 38% very high-need students.

“At LU, Governor Northam’s cuts affect more than 374 military families, 200 single-parent working families, and over 140 emergency response personnel who attend classes online,” said Ashley Reich, vice president of Student Financial Services. “These populations of students are vital to our communities, and now the future of their education is potentially at stake.”

Others affected include 260 students from Virginia studying to be future teachers and nurses in fully accredited and approved programs. At Liberty University, Northam’s cuts would impact over 2,000 students per year.

Liberty President Jerry Falwell stated, “It’s a shame that the Governor’s budget financially hurts so many students across Virginia who go to school online because they are balancing work, families, and school all at once. Eighty percent of these students are working, and the majority are paying Virginia state income taxes.”

Rob Ritz, Liberty’s CFO, stated, “Thankfully, Liberty has resources to deal with this nearsighted decision by the governor … but what about smaller schools who cannot support this loss of aid to online students? Liberty will continue to watch this closely as Northam’s cuts move through the state budget process.”

Students and families are free to contact their state representatives and express their concern about this issue. Visit https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ for contact information.

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