President Merten Expresses Hope for Budget Improvement

Posted: February 9, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

In e-mail messages sent to George Mason faculty and staff last week, President Alan Merten offered an appraisal of possible Virginia General Assembly action to address higher education funding this year. He also urged university employees to identify their legislators and “learn more about our needs.”

“This year, there is some hope for budget improvement,” Merten said. “The Governor has presented a tax reform plan and proposed budget for 2004/2005, and Senator John Chichester and others have also proposed legislation for increased funding for higher education.”

Noting that Virginia’s colleges and universities have faced “massive cuts with no possibility of redress” for the past three years, Merten said the passage of any of the proposed bills would improve Mason’s financial situation, although none of them addresses the problem of base budget adequacy. The proposed legislation would enable George Mason to increase operational support throughout the university; provide access to more of the 60,000 new high school graduates who will be looking for a college education in Virginia over the next six years; and help more needy students through financial aid.

“Your support and interest can make a real difference to the future of Mason and higher education in Virginia,” Merten said, and he suggested faculty and staff visit, a web site that outlines George Mason’s needs and provides contact information for legislators.

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