Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 23.1. Institutions of Higher Education; Other Educational and Cultural Institutions
Chapter 3. The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011

§ 23.1-301. Short title; objective; purposes.

A. This chapter may be cited as the "Preparing for the Top Jobs of the 21st Century: The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011," the "Top Jobs Act," or "TJ21."

B. The objective of this chapter is to fuel strong economic growth in the Commonwealth and prepare Virginians for the top job opportunities in the knowledge-driven economy of the 21st century by establishing a long-term commitment, policy, and framework for sustained investment and innovation that will (i) enable the Commonwealth to build upon the strengths of its excellent higher education system and achieve national and international leadership in college degree attainment and personal income and (ii) ensure that these educational and economic opportunities are accessible and affordable for all capable and committed Virginia students.

C. In furtherance of the objective set forth in subsection B, the following purposes shall inform the development and implementation of funding policies, performance criteria, economic opportunity metrics, and recommendations required by this chapter:

1. To ensure an educated workforce in the Commonwealth through a public-private higher education system whose hallmarks are instructional excellence, affordable access, economic impact, institutional diversity and managerial autonomy, cost-efficient operation, technological and pedagogical innovation, and reform-based investment;

2. To take optimal advantage of the demonstrated correlation between higher education and economic growth by investing in higher education in a manner that will generate economic growth, job creation, personal income growth, and revenues generated for state and local government in the Commonwealth;

3. To (i) place the Commonwealth among the most highly educated states and countries by conferring approximately 100,000 cumulative additional undergraduate degrees on Virginians between 2011 and 2025, accompanied by a comparable percentage increase in privately conferred undergraduate degrees in the Commonwealth over the same period and (ii) achieve this purpose by expanding enrollment of Virginians at public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education, improving undergraduate graduation and retention rates in the higher education system in the Commonwealth, and increasing degree completion by Virginians with partial credit toward a college degree, including students with ongoing job and family commitments who require access to nontraditional college-level educational opportunities;

4. To enhance personal opportunity and earning power for individual Virginians by (i) increasing college degree attainment in the Commonwealth, especially in high-demand, high-income fields such as STEM and health care fields and (ii) providing information about the economic value and impact of individual degree programs by institution;

5. To promote university-based research that produces outside investment in the Commonwealth, fuels economic advances, triggers commercialization of new products and processes, fosters the formation of new businesses, leads businesses to bring their facilities and jobs to the Commonwealth, and in other ways helps place the Commonwealth on the cutting edge of the knowledge-driven economy;

6. To support the national effort to enhance the security and economic competitiveness of the United States and secure a leading economic position for the Commonwealth through increased research and instruction in STEM and related fields that require qualified faculty, appropriate research facilities and equipment, public-private and intergovernmental collaboration, and sustained state support;

7. To preserve and enhance the excellence and cost-efficiency of the Commonwealth's higher education system through reform-based investment that promotes innovative instructional models and pathways to degree attainment, including optimal use of physical facilities and instructional resources throughout the year, technology-enhanced instruction, sharing of instructional resources between colleges, universities, and other degree-granting entities in the Commonwealth, increased online learning opportunities for nontraditional students, improved rate and pace of degree completion, expanded availability of dual enrollment and advanced placement options and early college commitment programs, expanded comprehensive community college transfer options leading to bachelor's degree completion, and enhanced college readiness before matriculation;

8. To realize the potential for enhanced benefits from the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act (§ 23.1-1000 et seq.) through a sustained commitment to the principles of autonomy, accountability, affordable access, and mutual trust and obligation underlying the restructuring initiative;

9. To establish a higher education funding framework and policy that promotes stable, predictable, equitable, and adequate funding, facilitates effective planning at the institutional and state levels, provides incentives for increased enrollment of Virginia students at public institutions of higher education and nonprofit private institutions of higher education, provides need-based financial aid for low-income and middle-income students and families, relieves the upward pressure on tuition associated with loss of state support due to economic downturns or other causes, and provides financial incentives to promote innovation and enhanced economic opportunity in furtherance of the objective of this chapter set forth in subsection A; and

10. To recognize that the unique mission and contributions of each public institution of higher education and private institution of higher education is consistent with the desire to build upon the strengths of the Commonwealth's excellent system of higher education, afford these unique missions and contributions appropriate safeguards, and allow these attributes to inform the development and implementation of funding policies, performance criteria, economic opportunity metrics, and recommendations in the furtherance of the objective of this chapter set forth in subsection B.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:10; 2016, c. 588; 2017, c. 314.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.