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Contact:  Kirsten Nelson
(804) 225-2627
For Immediate Release

July 19, 2005

Four-year Public Institutions Predicted to
Meet Enrollment Demand Through 2012

—VCCS Enrollment Demand Projected to Increase By Up to 27 Percent —

RICHMOND —Virginia’s public colleges and universities are prepared to meet with growing student enrollment demand, according to a report released today by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The report, entitled “Revised Enrollment Demand and Service Projections through 2012,” compares projected enrollment demand with targets set by the institutions and provides a forecast of student demand in the public and four-year nonprofit sector.

Though revised demand projections suggest that between fall 2004 and fall 2012, in-state student enrollment at public institutions will increase by 56,510 students, the report concludes that four-year public institutions and Richard Bland College have sufficient capacity to meet enrollment demand through 2012.

Most of the demand is predicted to occur in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), which is expected to grow from an enrollment base of 146,472 in fall 2004 to 186,555 in fall 2011. The report concludes that approximately half of that 27 percent population growth in the VCCS will occur in Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads region. The institutions that serve this area, Tidewater Community College and Northern Virginia Community College, are already operating at space deficits based on current enrollments.

"We want to commend the Commonwealth’s public institutions for responding to the diverse needs and interests of an increasing number of students," said SCHEV Executive Director Daniel J. LaVista. "Yet we recognize that their continued ability to meet enrollment demand is contingent on the state’s commitment to providing much-needed financial support. College and university leaders have emphasized that in order to continue to meet their commitment to increased enrollments, they will need more faculty members and larger facilities in order to adequately serve these additional students."

If state funding commitments are met and retention and participation rates remain relatively stable, the report suggests that supply could exceed demand by approximately 4.6 percent at public four-year institutions in 2011. However, the report cautions that additional capacity for enrollment statewide does not imply program-level capacity. Programs in high-demand or high-need areas, such as nursing, education, and engineering, may not be able to take in new students at the same rate..

Interested students could also seek admission in the private sector, which has the capacity to enroll greater numbers of Virginia residents. Based on information from the Council of Independent Colleges for Virginia (CICV), the report concludes that 7,000 undergraduate students could be enrolled in fall 2005 in this sector with a capacity of 11,000 undergraduates overall in the next few years.

The report and accompanying enrollment targets from the public four-year institutions and Richard Bland College are used for budgetary and fiscal planning purposes. The draft report, which is embargoed until July 19, 2005 at 2:00 p.m., will be made available on the Web at

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on Virginia colleges and universities on higher education issues. Agenda materials for the SCHEV meeting are available at

For more information, contact Kirsten Nelson, Director of Government Relations and Communications, at or (804)225-2627.