Gov. Northam to propose financial aid increase, housing affordability for students

RICHMOND, Va. -- In a press conference Monday, Governor Ralph Northam announced his budget goals ahead of Tuesday’s address to the General Assembly Money Committees.

In the press conference that took place at the VCU School of Government building, Northam said his goal is to address higher education and housing affordability for students.

He said in recent years the cost of housing and college has continued to increase. He said his goal is to alleviate some of the strain that causes families.

When it comes to higher education, Governor Northam said his budget amendments include $15.5 million in additional need-based financial aid for public institutions. He also plans to add $5.2 million in additional funds for the Tuition Assistance Grant Program.

In addition, he said he will propose that four year and two-year institutions develop tuition predictability plans, so students can prepare for how much their education will cost.

Northam said he plans to address housing affordability by increasing the Housing Trust Fund.

“I’m pleased to announce that my budget proposal includes one-time funding to increase the housing trust fund to a total of 20 million dollars in the current fiscal year and a total of 10 million dollars in fiscal year 2020,” said Northam. “The funding will dramatically expand our ability to work with private and public partners to address homelessness; to provide permanent supportive housing for vulnerable populations with special needs; and to expand the supply of quality, affordable housing required to meet the needs of a growing and diverse work force.”

In addition to these investments, Northam said he plans to address high rates of evictions happening in communities across the state. He said his budget provides $2.6 million to increase the number of attorneys available, and legal aid offices, to assist families dealing with eviction.

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