Governor Robert McDonnell established the “Governor’s Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment” formed through Executive Order No. 9 in March, 2010, shortly after his inauguration the preceding January. The Commission began meetings in July 2010 and issued an interim report in December 2010. The Higher Education Opportunity Act was passed by the 2011 General Assembly and is based on the Commission’s recommendation in their interim report.
The purpose of the Act is to significantly increase college attainment with a goal of 100,000 new undergraduate degrees by 2025. The Act also seeks to address basic operational and instructional funding, per-student enrollment funding, need-based financial aid, targeted economic and innovation incentives, a higher education “Rainy Day” fund, institutional six-year plans, and increasing high demand degrees through public-private partnerships. As the coordinating body for the Commonwealth’s institutions of higher education, SCHEV will be instrumental in implementing policies to achieve these goals.
Much of this work will be informed by the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005 (Restructuring Act) which provided public colleges and universities with more operational and administrative autonomy in exchange for a renewed commitment to their public missions.
The Restructuring Act provided a set of basic operational autonomy for all institutions and specified that tuition and fee responsibility reside with the institution Boards of Visitors. The Restructuring Act required a formal commitment by the Boards of Visitors to the “state asks.” Institutions earn financial incentives based on meeting performance standards. In addition, there are opportunities for greater institutional autonomy through “memoranda of understanding” and “management agreements.”
The institution Boards of Visitors committed to 12 state goals – “state asks” – by formal resolution in 2005:
- Academic offerings
- Academic standards
- Student progress and success
- Articulation and dual enrollment
- Economic development
- Enhancing K12
- Six-year plans
- Finance and administrative
- Campus safety and security
Institutions are classified into one of three levels of financial and administrative operational authority. All institutions enter Level I authority as a result of the Boards of Visitors resolution in 2005. Level I institutions receive minimum operational authority.
Level II criteria were established by the 2008 General Assembly. Level II institutions receive additional authority in two of three areas – capital outlay, information technology, and procurement. Institutions enter Level II through a “memorandum of understanding” with the Governor and, respective cabinet Secretaries. Memoranda of understanding were signed with George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, and Virginia Military Institute in 2008.
The highest level of financial and administrative operational authority is granted to a select group of institutions through a “management agreement” between the institution’s Board of Visitors, the Governor, and the General Assembly. Level III institutions have operational authority in the areas of capital outlay, information technology, procurement, human resources, and finance. The College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech signed management agreements in 2005 which were approved by the 2006 General Assembly. Virginia Commonwealth University’s management agreement was approved by the 2008 General Assembly.
Introduced in 2004, the Commonwealth Chartered Universities and Colleges Act failed to pass during the 2004 General Assembly Session, but provided a framework for the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005 (Restructuring Act).
Eligibility for restructured financial and administrative operational authority
§ 23-38.88 Code of Virginia
Level II Memoranda of understanding
§ 23-38.90 Code of Virginia outlining requirements for Level II institutions
§ 23-38.97 through § 23-38.121 Code of Virginia outlining institutional authority under management agreements
Goals of the Restructuring Act
These are the 12 goals of the Restructured Higher Education and Administration Act.
Council Briefings and Actions
January 12, 2010 – Action on Proposed Measures for Longwood University – Level II
May 5, 2011
September 15, 2009
September 10, 2009
August 4, 2009
2011 Six-Year Plans Overview
Christopher Newport University
College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary - Virginia Institute of Marine Science
George Mason University
James Madison University
Norfolk State University
Old Dominion University
Richard Bland College
University of Mary Washington
University of Virginia
University of Virginia College at Wise
Virginia Community College System
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Logistics Research Center
Virginia Military Institute
Virginia State University
Virginia State University – Cooperative Extension and Agriculture Research Station
Virginia Tech – Virginia Cooperative Extension and Agriculture Experiment Station
Institution Web Sites
Institutional Performance Standards (IPS)Back to Top »
Virginia Reports and LinksBack to Top »
External Reports and LinksBack to Top »
- Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011
- Restructured H.E. Financial and Administrative Operations Act
- Council Briefings and Actions
- Restructuring Subcommittee
- 2013 Six-Year Plans
- Institution Web sites
- Institutional Performance
- Virginia Reports and Links
- External Reports and Links
- Innovation in Higher Education