Del. Clay Athey (R-Front Royal) says he’s going to do something about the percentage of in-state students at public universities in Virginia. He says that universities should have to maintain a 70% rate to continue to receive state funding, lamenting that less than half of UVa students are from Virginia. So Athey is going to introduce a couple of bills into this year’s General Assembly session to fix the problem. That makes sense, right?
Well, no. Garren Shipley writes that UVa doesn’t want the bill because a) 69% of their students are from Virginia, not Athey’s mysterious “less than 50 percent” number and b) out-of-state students subsidize the cost of an in-state education for the rest of us, since the state hardly funds public universities anymore. The Roanoke Times’ editorial board calls out Athey on this, pointing out that not only are his facts wrong, but his underlying assumption that out of state students are undesirable also isn’t borne out by the facts.
Some folks think that the bills introduced into the legislature each year are the result of careful analysis and studies, each crafted to address a specific need. Hell no. Some legislator just has to get a wrong idea in his head, the legal wizards at Legislative Services turn it into a bill, and, poof, you’ve got yourself a legal proposal to do something stupid. This here is Exhibit A.