State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

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Higher Education System Overview

Virginia Colleges and Universities

Four-Year Public Institutions

  • Christopher Newport University
  • College of William and Mary
  • George Mason University
  • James Madison University
  • Longwood University
  • Norfolk State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Radford University
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Virginia
  • UVa’s College at Wise
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Tech  

Two-Year Public Institutions

  • Richard Bland College (transfer-oriented junior college)
  • Virginia Community College System (23 colleges on 40 campuses operating as one system)

Other Institutions in the Commonwealth

  • EVMS (public-private freestanding medical school)
  • Regional higher-education centers/institutes (5)
  • Private, non-profit institutions (107)
  • Private, for-profit institutions  (72)
  • Out-of-state public institutions (19)
  • Vocational (non-degree) institutions (131)

Students at Public Institutions

  • 86% of public institutions’ students are Virginians.
    • Four-year institutions: 78% in-state.
    • Community college system: 96% in-state.
  • 58% of public institutions’ students attend full-time.
    • Four-year institutions: 82% full-time.
    • Community college system: 34% full-time.
  • 89% of public institutions’ students are undergrads.
    • Four-year institutions: 79% undergraduate.
  • 74% of public four-year institutions’ undergraduate students complete a degree within six years.
  • 32% of public two-year institutions’ students complete a degree within three years.

Degrees and Certificates Awarded by Public Institutions in 2015-16

  • 14,815 Certificates at various levels
  • 19,017 Associate’s degrees
  • 38,012 Bachelor’s degrees
  • 10,877 Master’s degrees
  • 1,842 Doctoral degrees
  • 1,365 Professional degrees

Virginia Higher Education Budget

Over $8 billion is spent per year in Virginia higher education (including both general and nongeneral funds).

  • Approximately $4.7 billion is spent within Educational and General (E&G) programs
  • Nearly $387 million is provided for Student Financial Aid
  • Approximately $1.7 billion is spent on Auxiliary Enterprise
  • Approximately $1.4 billion is spent on Sponsored Research

Key Players in Virginia Higher Education

  • Governor

    • Appoints all voting members of the 14 Boards of Visitors, the State Board for Community Colleges, and 12 of the 13 members of SCHEV (and some members of the boards of EVMS and the regional centers/institutes);
    • Prepares and submits a biennial budget;
    • Signs or vetoes all legislation, including the budget bill;
    • Issues Executive Orders.
  • General Assembly

    • Adopts a biennial budget;
    • Introduces, debates, and votes on legislation;
    • Establishes joint subcommittees and study commissions;
    • Requests studies and reports.
  • Attorney General

    • Serves as general counsel to public institutions & SCHEV;
    • Reviews all contracts;
    • Approves all real estate transactions;
    • Provides training on various legal issues (FOIA, conflicts of interest, etc.)
  • Secretary of Education

    • Appointed by Governor and approved by legislature;
    • Advises the Governor on education policy issues;
    • Oversees all educational- and cultural-related executive- branch agencies, including the DoE, SCHEV, VCCS, public universities, regional centers/institutes, state museums, and Library of Virginia;
    • Receives and reviews operating- and capital-budget requests from the institutions and agencies.
  • State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV)

    • Develops the statewide strategic plan for higher education;
    • Maintains a comprehensive data system of student enrollment at Virginia institutions;
    • Establishes state policy on and reviews proposals from public institutions for new degree programs, organizational units and instructional sites, mission statements, and a range of other academic issues;
    • Makes recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly for state higher education appropriations;
    • Administers state financial-aid programs for students at public and private, non-profit institutions;
    • Coordinates strategic higher education planning and review of institutional performance relative to state priorities;
    • Authorizes new and out-of-state postsecondary institutions to operate in Virginia;
    • Administers federal grants to support student access and success in higher education;
    • Develops educational programs for new appointees to public institutions’ governing boards.
  • Boards of Visitors and the State Board for Community Colleges

    • Provide oversight of and leadership to their respective institutions;
    • Set broad policy goals and priorities for their institutions;
    • Select and evaluate a CEO (President/Chancellor/ Superintendent) to ensure compliance with statutory mandates and board goals, priorities, and directives;
    • Establish rules and regulations for:
      • the admission of students and requirements for graduation;
      • the conduct of students;
      • the employment of faculty and all other employees, and provide for their dismissal for failure to abide by such rules and regulations;
    • Review and approve budget requests to the Governor and General Assembly for state appropriations;
    • Set tuition and fee charges;
    • Be knowledgeable of the scope, purposes and policies of institutionally related foundations;
    • Ensure institution is accountable for the effective and efficient use of Virginia taxpayer dollars.

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