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NEWS RELEASE

Contact:  Kirsten Nelson
(804) 225-2627
KirstenNelson@schev.edu
For Immediate Release

August 25, 2004
SCHEV Awards $275,179 from the Student Tuition Guaranty Fund
—Program Assists Students in Recovering Tuition Dollars Lost
Due to Proprietary or Vocational School Closure—

RICHMOND — On July 1, 2004, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia was granted the statutory authority to certify proprietary and vocational schools to operate within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Formerly, the Department of Education had this authority. These schools are required to contribute to the Student Tuition Guaranty Fund, which exists to assist students in recovering unearned tuition dollars lost in the event of a school closure.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) is charged with identifying those students entitled to a claim against the fund. Consequently, 131 students have been identified as fund recipients due to the cessation of nine institutions. Fulfilling its duty to support the students of the Commonwealth, SCHEV today announced over $275,000 will go to 91 students across Virginia.

“As SCHEV assumes certification authority for proprietary and vocational schools, we will strengthen consumer protection and conduct random audits to ensure continued compliance with the Council’s rigorous standards,” said Daniel LaVista, SCHEV Executive Director. “I’m pleased to help students recover lost tuition dollars, and I hope that our effort will encourage these students to continue investing in themselves through higher education.”

The statutes and regulations that govern the Student Tuition Guaranty Fund require SCHEV to take several factors into account when identifying the claimants. For example, claims by students must be filed within three years after closure of a proprietary or vocational school authorized to operate in Virginia. To calculate the distribution of funds to eligible students, the formula developed by SCHEV weighs the following key elements: the amount paid to the school by the claimant, the number of hours of actual instruction completed by the claimant, the total number of claims on the fund at the time, the number of claims for a particular school closing, the number of claims presented in the past, the number of claims likely to be presented in the future and the balance of the fund.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia focuses on providing students with access to comprehensive and quality academic preparation. The Student Tuition Guaranty Fund is a program that allows SCHEV to provide eligible students the opportunity to continue their education, without incurring a total financial loss.

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 www.schev.edu.

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