Roles and Responsibilities
The following are the primary duties and responsibilities of the State Council of Education for Virginia:
Section 23-9.9 of the Code of Virginia assigns SCHEV with the responsibility to develop "policies, formulae, and guidelines for the fair and equitable distribution and use of public funds among [Virginia's] public institutions of higher education." In addition, this section directs SCHEV to analyze each institution's operating and capital budget request and provide recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding the approval or modification of each request.
Section 23-9.6:1 of the Code of Virginia assigns SCHEV 20 general duties in its coordination of Virginia's system of higher education. In fulfilling these duties, the Council may not affect, either directly or indirectly, the selection of faculty or the standards and criteria for admission of any public institution, whether related to academic standards, residence or other criteria. The intention of this section is that faculty selection and student admission policies shall remain a function of the individual institutions.
The 20 duties are:
- To develop a statewide strategic plan that identifies a coordinated approach to state goals for higher education in the Commonwealth, which emphasizes unique instituional missions and anticipates future needs at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. Such plans at least should be revised once every six years. Click to view the entire 2007-13 Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Virginia.
- To review and approve or disapprove any proposed change in the statement of mission of any presently existing public institution of higher education and to define the mission of all public institutions of higher education created after the effective date of this provision.
- To study any proposed escalation of any public institution to a degree-granting level higher than that level to which it is presently restricted and to submit a report and recommendation to the Governor and the General Assembly relating to the proposal.
- Review and approve or disapprove all enrollment projections proposed by each public institution of higher education. The Council's projections shall be in numerical terms by level of enrollment and shall be used for budgetary and fiscal planning purposes only. The Council shall develop estimates of the number of degrees to be awarded by each institution and include those estimates in its reports of enrollment projections. The student admissions policies for the institutions and their specific programs shall remain the sole responsibility of the individual boards of visitors; however, all four-year institutions shall adopt dual admissions policies with the community colleges, as required by § 23-3.2:3.02.
- To review and approve or disapprove all new academic programs which any public institution of higher education proposes.
- To review and require the discontinuance of any undergraduate or graduate academic program that is presently offered by any public institution of higher education when the Council determines that such academic program is (i) nonproductive in terms of the number of degrees granted, the number of students served by the program, the program's effectiveness, and budgetary considerations, or (ii) supported by state funds and is unnecessarily duplicative of academic programs offered at other public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth.
- To review and approve or disapprove the creation and establishment of any department, school, college, branch, division or extension of any public institution of higher education that such institution proposes to create and establish. This duty and responsibility shall be applicable to the proposed creation and establishment of departments, schools, colleges, branches, divisions and extensions, whether located on or off the main campus of the institution in question.
- To review the proposed closure of any academic program in a high demand or critical shortage area, as defined by the Council, by any public institution of higher education and assist in the development of an orderly closure plan, when needed.
- To develop a uniform, comprehensive data information system designed to gather all information necessary to the performance of the Council's duties. The system shall include information on admissions, enrollments, self-identified students with documented disabilities, personnel, programs, financing, space inventory, facilities and such other areas as the Council deems appropriate.
- To develop in cooperation with institutions of higher education guidelines for the assessment of student achievement.
- To develop in cooperation with the appropriate state financial and accounting officials and to establish uniform standards and systems of accounting, record keeping and statistical reporting for the public institutions of higher education.
- To review biennially and approve or disapprove all changes in the inventory of educational and general space that any public institution of higher education may propose, and to make a report to the Governor and the General Assembly with respect thereto. No such change shall be made until 30 days after the adjournment of the session of the General Assembly next following the filing of such report.
- To visit and study the operations of each of the public institutions of higher education at such times as the Council shall deem appropriate and to conduct such other studies in the field of higher education as the Council deems appropriate or as may be requested by the Governor or the General Assembly.
- To provide advisory services to private, accredited and nonprofit institutions of higher education, whose primary purpose is to provide collegiate or graduate education and not to provide religious training or theological education, on academic, administrative, financial and space utilization matters.
- To adopt such rules and regulations as the Council believes necessary to implement all of the Council's duties and responsibilities as set forth in this Code. The various public institutions of higher education shall comply with such rules and regulations.
- To issue guidelines consistent with the provisions of the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- To require that each institution of higher education formed, chartered, or established in the Commonwealth after July 1, 1980, shall ensure the preservation of student transcripts in the event of institutional closure or revocation of approval to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. An institution may provide for the preservation of student transcripts by binding agreement with another institution of higher education with which it is not corporately connected or in such other way as the Council may authorize by regulation. In the event an institution closes, or has its approval to operate in the Commonwealth revoked, the Council, through its Director, may take such action as is necessary to secure and preserve the student transcripts until such time as an appropriate institution accepts all or some of the transcripts. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to interfere with the right of a student to his own transcripts; nor shall this section authorize disclosure of student records except as may otherwise be authorized by law.
Require the development and submission of articulation, transfer, and dual enrollment and admissions agreements between two- and four-year public institutions of higher education in Virginia, including programs for qualified students to be simultaneously accepted by a community college and a four-year public institution of higher education and, upon successful completion of an associate degree program from the community college, to be automatically enrolled in the four-year institution of higher education. Dual admissions agreements shall set forth (i) the obligations of the students accepted in such programs, including grade point average requirements, acceptable associate degree majors, and completion timetables; and (ii) the student's access to the privileges of enrollment in both institutions during the time enrolled in either institution. Such agreements shall be subject to the admissions requirements of the four-year institutions, except as provided in § 23-9.2:3.02.
- Provide periodic updates of base adequacy funding guidelines adopted by the Joint Subcommittee Studying Higher Education Funding Policies for the various public institutions.
- Develop a uniform certificate of general studies program, in consultation with the Virginia Community College System and Virginia public institutions of higher education, to be offered at each community college in Virginia. Such program shall ensure that a community college student who completes the one-year certificate program shall be able to transfer all credits to a four-year public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth upon acceptance to the institution.
Section 23-276 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia directs SCHEV with regulating private in-state institutions and out-of-state institutions operating in Virginia that offer certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Established institutions must seek SCHEV approval before offering new programs or opening a new site. New institutions also must seek SCHEV approval before they can begin operation. Exempt from SCHEV approval are institutions offering non-secular religious degrees, programs of an avocational nature, programs authorized by other state or federal governmental bodies, and programs offered by corporations for their employees.
Section 23-9.14:1 of the Code of Virginia directs SCHEV, in consultation with public institutions of higher education and members of their governing boards, educational programs for the governing boards of such institutions. Members of boards of visitors may participate in these programs, which are designed to address the role, duties and responsibilities of the governing boards, and include in-service programs on current issues in higher education. SCHEV hosts two BOV conferences each year. The fall session focuses on topics of particular relevance for newly appointed board members, while the spring session focuses on broad policy issues affecting Virginia higher education. All board members are invited, welcome and encouraged to attend both sessions.
SCHEV also coordinates legislatively assigned studies, participates in state, national, and international studies and other higher education-related efforts, and performs other activities to further its mission.