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Virginia residents who attend postsecondary institutions certified to operate in Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia are afforded certain guarantees and protections according to Virginia’s laws and regulations. These provisions include:

  1. Protections through the Student Tuition Guaranty Fund (STGF), which was designed to reimburse tuition paid by students attending certified schools that cease to operate, prohibiting students from completing their program of study. In the event of the closure of a certified school, SCHEV will:

    • Coordinate the enrollment of effected students in another certified institution that offers a comparable program, at no additional charge to the students, so that students may complete their program of study; or
    • Reimburse students for the unearned portion of tuition paid to the school, if a comparable school cannot be secured to allow them to complete their program of study.

  2. Assurance that credits earned at out-of-state postsecondary institutions with physical presence in Virginia will transfer to the school’s principal location or another branch campus as part of an existing degree, certificate, or diploma program offered by the school; and

  3. Guarantee that SCHEV staff will investigate and respond to all written and signed complaints and inquires concerning certified institutions.

Certified schools are required to adhere to a range of policies designed to protect students and their investments in higher education. Those policies include, but are not limited to:

  1. Instructional faculty must possess appropriate credentials in the discipline being taught or qualify by virtue of professional or scholarly achievement;
  2. Elective and required courses are offered in a schedule and in a sequence that enables both full-time and part-time students to complete the program in a reasonable period of time;
  3. Institutions have a continual curriculum development plan, ensuring programs offered are relevant to the current employment market and which measures the school’s effectiveness in adequately preparing students to gainfully enter the workforce upon graduation;
  4. Assurance that courses offered conform to state, federal, trade, or manufacturing standards of training for those occupational fields in which established standards exist;
  5. Availability of student completion/graduation information, as well as placement information for certain institutions, upon request;
  6. Availability of policy documents that define the minimum requirements for admission, as well as describe the school’s transfer policy, refund policy, students’ rights and responsibilities, and the grievance policy;
  7. Disclosure of information related to financial aid programs, school accreditation status, requirements for satisfactory program completion, and tuition, fees and other related charges;
  8. School maintains records that demonstrate that it is financially sound, exercises proper management, financial controls and business practices, and can fulfill its commitments to education or training;
  9. Instructional faculty are accessible to students for academic or course advising at times outside of the course’s regularly scheduled class hours; and
  10. Access to a library with a collection, staff, services, equipment, and facilities that are adequate and appropriate for the purpose and enrollment of the school.

Please note that Virginia law allows for certain postsecondary institutions operating in Virginia to be exempt from the requirements of certification and SCHEV oversight. Students attending such exempt institutions are not entitled to the provisions noted above through SCHEV. Click to see a complete listing of Virginia institutions, certified as well as exempt.




Statement to parties seeking information about official state certification and/or authentication of diplomas: Pursuant to Virginia Code section 23.1-900.01, "each public institution of higher education and private institution of higher education may provide any diploma or other proof of education to requesting individuals or entities using the method that it deems appropriate, in either electronic or paper form." Please consult the university or college registrar's office or website for further details.

February 25, 2019 - SCHEV has been notified that Dream Center Education Holdings, the parent company of Argosy University, was recently placed on Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 status by the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. ED). The U.S. ED will cancel any federal debt students acquired to pay for the spring semester and post updates at in coming days. Argosy University students in Northern Virginia should obtain copies of their unofficial transcript or financial ledger card as soon as possible via the Argosy Student Portal. If students have additional questions, they can contact Argosy University directly at 703-526-5800. 
December 18, 2018 - SCHEV has been notified that Education Corporation of America, the parent company of Virginia College, will cease operation in December 2018. Virginia College in Midlothian will close its doors on December 18, 2018. SCHEV is working with Virginia College administrators to obtain academic and financial records for current students and to ensure that former students’ records are preserved and maintained in accordance with Virginia regulatory requirements. 

Warning: Student records from the University of Northern Virginia should not be accepted as official documents. Neither transcripts nor diplomas from the institution can be verified as true and accurate. 

Sept. 6, 2016 - SCHEV has been notified that ITT Technical Institute has voluntarily ceased offering postsecondary education and will close all of its campuses.

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