By Brooke Knetzger
Staff Writer, The Capital News Service
The Virginia Senate voted 34-5 today to pass a bill that would grant full or partial tuition scholarships to children of faculty members employed by the college or university.
Senate Bill 1290, introduced by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, would also allow public institutions to enter into agreements that would permit the dependent students of faculty to use waivers at other public institutions that are also involved in the agreement. Tuition would be paid for out of the institution’s non-general funds.
“This bill will keep the best and the brightest of our professors and it will also attract the best and the brightest,” Edwards said.
Sen. John Watkins, R-Midlothian, was one of the 34 who voted in favor of the bill. The bill is one of those areas of decision-making that becomes pretty important because it is a competitive market place when it comes to hiring the professionals, he said.
“This is commonly done in private business when hiring is taking place,” he said. “Our universities need this.”
Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Lynchburg, disagreed.
“It is simply not fair,” Garrett said. “Kids should have an opportunity to succeed in the Commonwealth without regard to who their mothers and fathers are.”
Sen. Dick Black, R-Leesburg, was also opposed.
“How do we explain to people that struggle and have difficulty making ends meat that the wealthiest will be cut a break?” Black said.
Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Winchester, spoke on behalf of the bill.
“I believe it is the case that this bill does not create this as a set policy,” she said. “In fact, it merely codifies something that colleges currently have the authority to do in a contract.”
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