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Va. bachelor’s degree numbers set record

RICHMOND — A record number of students earned bachelor’s degrees in Virginia last year, state data show.

The state’s colleges awarded a total of 56,484 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-19, the most in state history, according to a report released Friday by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Colleges also awarded 31,094 graduate degrees, 19,228 associate degrees and 15,362 certificates. Of the 122,168 total degrees and certificates, more than 70% of them (86,325) were given to in-state students.

Roughly half of the degrees were awarded to students at public four-year colleges.

The three most popular bachelor’s degree majors were business administration and management; psychology; and biology/biological sciences.

The popularity of computer and information sciences degrees rose from the 12th most popular in 2017-18 to eighth in 2018-19. It was ranked 23rd in 2008-09.

The number of students enrolled this year at the state’s public four-year colleges rose to 223,438 from 220,255 in 2018-19.

More students have internet access in Va.

RICHMOND — Nearly all of the 1.3 million public school students in Virginia go to schools that meet or exceed the Federal Communications Commission’s standard for internet access, according to the nonprofit EducationSuperHighway.

Five years ago, fewer than half (46%) of students went to schools that met the FCC’s goal of providing at least 100 Kbps (kilobits per second) per student, the Virginia Department of Education said in a news release. That level is considered the minimum bandwidth necessary to support a one-to-one device-to-student ratio.

“High-speed internet access is critical to prepare students for postsecondary education and to take advantage of high-tech employment opportunities in the coming decade,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “But technology does not stand still, and we will continue to collaborate with leaders in the public and private sectors to ensure that all students — whether in school or at home — can benefit from ever-evolving digital-learning opportunities.”

Reynolds preparing for ‘Super Saturday’

RICHMOND — Reynolds Community College will host “Super Saturday” this week.

The event, scheduled for Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the college’s downtown and Parham Road campuses, is meant to give prospective students a chance to apply to Reynolds, speak with a college adviser, register for classes, and learn more about financial aid and scholarships all in one morning.

New students can also obtain their student ID and parking pass, learn their way around campus, and talk with staff about library services, tutoring and student life.

Parking is free, and there will be refreshments and prizes, a spokesman said. Those interested in learning more about Super Saturday should visit www.reynolds.edu/super_saturday.

— From staff reports

State Government Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers Virginia politics and policy. He previously covered education. A northern New York native and Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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