Terry McAuliffe, in his weekly meme, has put out some astounding numbers on Virginia’s Community College System.
According to the graphic, that’s a 43% decrease in our Community College’s funding per student in only 5 years, or just under 9% per year.
This would be quite draconian. If it were true.
I reached out to the McAuliffe campaign to see how they calculated these numbers, because based on the data available, there is absolutely no way this can be true. Here’s the data I got through VCCS and the Department of Planning and Budget. Here are the real numbers:
Year  VCCS Total Budget  Enrollment (Unduplicated Headcount)*  Spent per student 
2008  $895,785,006  249,295  $3,593.27 
2009  $1,009,927,672  262,444  $3,848.16 
2010  $1,054,489,649  281,239  $3,749.44 
2011  $1,410,790,876  286,920  $4,917.02 
2012  $1,397,672,403  288,834  $4,839.02 
I haven’t received a response on their methodology, but contrary to Mr. McAuliffe’s claims, funding per student has actually risen 35% since 2008. Additionally, funding for VCCS personnel has risen 22% while the VCCS student enrollment has only risen 16% in that same time.
Again, I have no idea how McAuliffe came up with his numbers. There’s only one calculation that brought me somewhat close to his numbers, and that was dividing the GENERAL FUND appropriations (i.e., those dollars that are specifically set aside for a purpose) by the number of FULLTIME students. Here’s the table for that:
Year  VCCS Appropriation from General Fund  VCCS Appropriation from nongeneral Fund  FullTime Students  $ Spent per Fulltime student from General Fund 
2008  $414,517,441  $481,267,565  101,889  $4,068.32 
2009  $402,055,767  $607,871,905  153,572  $2,618.03 
2010  $373,813,964  $680,675,685  158,760  $2,354.59 
2011  $370,127,022  $1,040,663,854  158,504  $2,335.13 
2012  $353,007,442  $1,044,664,961  159,182  $2,217.63 
**
This is at least in the ballpark to McAuliffe’s numbers, and the final calculation ($ Spent per FT Student from the General Fund) does show close to a 43% drop in funding. But as you can see from the third column, that decrease in funding FROM THE GENERAL FUND has been replaced ten times over from NONGENERAL FUNDS.
Now, there IS an argument to be made that the NonGeneral funds received through tuition and fees should not be included, since the state does not really expend these, it only receives them. Still, even if we subtract the revenues from tuition and fees from the total budget, and divide it by the student populations, for both years, the state of Virginia spent a MINIMUM*** of $2,650 for all students in 2008, and a MINIMUM of $3,596 in 2012. That 2012 number is, again, at a MINIMUM, over $1,000 higher than McAuliffe’s number, and still reflects a MINIMUM of 35% INCREASE in dollars spent per student.
McAuliffe would make it seem like the Community College System is grossly underfunded. Having seen firsthand the massive efforts underway to improve the quality of life and learning at these institutions, this is simply not the case. Of course they would like MORE money, but to say Virginia spends less money per student now than it did five years ago is absolutely absurd. And false. Mr. McAuliffe needs to explain himself now.
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* “Undulpicated Headcount” does not count the same student twice for different semesters enrolled. In other words, it is the total number of student ID #s that have enrolled in that year.
** If we back up the school year by one year (i.e., 2007’s enrollment in 2008’s appropriations), we get a little closer to McAuliffe’s #s:
Year  VCCS Appropriation from General Fund  VCCS Appropriation from nongeneral Fund  FullTime Students  $ Spent per Fulltime student from General Fund 
2008  $414,517,441  $481,267,565  96,856  $4,279.73 
2012  $353,007,442  $1,044,664,961  158,504  $2,227.12 
*** The MINIMUM is calculated by dividing the remaining funds by the TOTAL population, many of whom are parttime students and do not incur nearly the amount of funding as fulltime students do.

MD Russ

Shaun Kenney

LOL

Wally Erb

Andrew Schwartz

Wally Erb

