GW was recognized by Virginia’s General Assembly Thursday for its work in higher education in the state, in the same week that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced a higher education bill affecting Virginia’s colleges and universities.
University President Steven Knapp met with McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and about 20 legislators Thursday morning to discuss GW’s role in relation to the bill, which is aimed at increasing access for Virginians to higher education, and preparing students for high-demand fields like science, technology, engineering and math – known as STEM – as well as healthcare.
The bill also incentivizes “public-private collaboration on STEM-related and other commercially viable research,” according to a news release from McDonnell’s office.
In an interview after the meeting, Knapp said the University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus would be recognized in both chambers of the Virginia legislature through resolutions thanking GW for its efforts in higher education and contributions to the economy.
GW started offering classes in Hampton Roads, Va., in 1958. Today it also offers courses in the cities of Arlington, Alexandria and Ashburn. The University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus was established in Loudoun County, Va. in 1991, and now houses the new School of Nursing along with other programs.
“We’re growing rapidly our presence in Virginia,” Knapp said, noting that the goal of the legislation proposed by the governor is consistent with GW’s efforts.
Knapp called GW “one of the important economic engines” in Virginia and said the University can help meet a nursing shortage and demand for other fields.
While GW sees some graduate tuition on the Virginia Campus coming through the state’s Tuition Assistance Grant Program, Knapp said any funding for GW from the new legislation would come in the form of tuition assistance for Virginia residents to enroll at GW.
Knapp said other incentives in the works in separate legislation could include “tax incentives that make it easier to partner with companies.”
He noted that private companies helped build the University’s nursing program, and said the University wants to continue building partnerships and coalitions in the area.
More than 2,000 GW students currently take classes in Virginia, and GW also has partnerships established with local schools like George Mason University and Shenandoah University.
Knapp said GW’s reputation is “really growing” in Virginia, and added that McDonnell said he wanted to help GW in any way he could.