Northam budget plan calls for $111M in college financial aid

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that his budget proposal for the state’s share of American Rescue Plan funding will call for $111 million in financial aid for low- and middle-income undergraduate students.
The plan designates $100 million for public higher education institutions and $11 million for certain private institutions, Northam’s office said in a news release. The money is separate from an additional $833 million Virginia’s colleges and universities will receive directly through a different component of the federal coronavirus relief bill.
Lawmakers will take up the budget when they convene in Richmond next week.
A second proposal Northam outlined later Thursday in a news release calls for $114 million in state and federal funding for what his office called public safety initiatives. Among them is $62 million in “hazard pay for local and state law enforcement and correctional officers who served during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the news release said.
The governor has been announcing components of his $4.3 billion budget proposal throughout the week. The bill itself was not yet publicly available for review.
Northam’s administration worked with Democratic legislative leaders in crafting the plans, which has led to complaints from Republicans who say the process has been lacking in transparency.