Colleges seek 8 percent increase in funding

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The heads of Vermont state colleges are seeking an 8 percent increase in the public funding for higher education.

The heads of the University of Vermont, and Vermont Student Assistance Corporation also made their annual request to the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

In recent years higher education spending has increased between 2 and 4 percent. The governor has proposed a 2.5 percent boost this year.

Vermont is at the bottom of the list in state funding for higher education. Because the appropriation is low, the state’s colleges say they rely on higher than average tuition. VSAC says they can’t provide all the grants that neediest students need.

The governor’s Commission on Higher Education Funding says an 8 percent increase would raise Vermont from 47th to 45th in the country in public funding for higher education. That’s if the increase is maintained for at least five years.

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