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Vermont State Colleges Want A Significant Increase In State Funding

A building on the Castleton University campus when snow is on the ground.
Nina Keck
VPR File
The Vermont State Colleges System is seeking a boost in state funding. Leaders of the colleges want state funding to grow to make up 30 percent over the next few years, amounting to $25 million more in funds.

The Vermont State Colleges System wants a big boost in state funding. Currently, state funding makes up 17 percent of the system's budget, but leaders of the colleges want that to increase to 30 percent over the next few years, amounting to $25 million more in funds.

Jeb Spaulding, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges, said that increase would put Vermont's schools on par with what other public colleges and universities in New England states receive in public funds.

Spaulding said he knows a one-time, $25 million increase is unrealistic, so he'd like the Legislature and governor to approve funding increases spread over several years.

Listen above to Jeb Spaulding's conversation with VPR's Henry Epp.

Without a funding boost, Spaulding said, Vermont State Colleges "will continue to get smaller."

"We have over 200 fewer employees working for the Vermont State Colleges now than we did a few years ago," Spaulding added, "and that means that we're less able to provide the supports that are necessary for students to succeed and graduate from college." 

Meanwhile, enrollment numbers at Vermont State Colleges have also shrunk in recent years. Collectively, the schools currently enroll about 2,000 fewer students compared to 2010.

Spaulding said he's spoken to lawmakers about his plan and has heard support, but he said "it's too soon to tell" whether it will be acted upon.

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