Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 23.1. Institutions of Higher Education; Other Educational and Cultural Institutions
Chapter 2. State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
8/3/2021

Article 2. Powers and Duties.

§ 23.1-203. Duties of Council.

The Council shall:

1. Develop a statewide strategic plan that (i) reflects the goals set forth in subsection A of § 23.1-1002 or (ii) once adopted, reflects the goals and objectives developed pursuant to subdivision B 5 of § 23.1-309 for higher education in the Commonwealth, identifies a coordinated approach to such state and regional goals, and emphasizes the future needs for higher education in the Commonwealth at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels and the mission, programs, facilities, and location of each of the existing institutions of higher education, each public institution's six-year plan, and such other matters as the Council deems appropriate. The Council shall revise such plan at least once every six years and shall submit such recommendations as are necessary for the implementation of the plan to the Governor and the General Assembly.

2. Review and approve or disapprove any proposed change in the statement of mission of any public institution of higher education and define the mission of all newly created public institutions of higher education. The Council shall report such approvals, disapprovals, and definitions to the Governor and the General Assembly at least once every six years. No such actions shall become effective until 30 days after adjournment of the session of the General Assembly next following the filing of such a report. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to authorize the Council to modify any mission statement adopted by the General Assembly or empower the Council to affect, either directly or indirectly, the selection of faculty or the standards and criteria for admission of any public institution of higher education, whether relating to academic standards, residence, or other criteria. Faculty selection and student admission policies shall remain a function of the individual public institutions of higher education.

3. Study any proposed escalation of any public institution of higher education to a degree-granting level higher than that level to which it is presently restricted and submit a report and recommendation to the Governor and the General Assembly relating to the proposal. The study shall include the need for and benefits or detriments to be derived from the escalation. No such institution shall implement any such proposed escalation until the Council's report and recommendation have been submitted to the General Assembly and the General Assembly approves the institution's proposal.

4. Review and approve or disapprove all enrollment projections proposed by each public institution of higher education. The Council's projections shall be organized numerically by level of enrollment and shall be used solely for budgetary, fiscal, and strategic planning purposes. The Council shall develop estimates of the number of degrees to be awarded by each public institution of higher education and include those estimates in its reports of enrollment projections. The student admissions policies for such institutions and their specific programs shall remain the sole responsibility of the individual governing boards but all baccalaureate public institutions of higher education shall adopt dual admissions policies with comprehensive community colleges as required by § 23.1-907.

5. Review and approve or disapprove all new undergraduate or graduate academic programs that any public institution of higher education proposes.

6. Review and require the discontinuance of any undergraduate or graduate academic program that is presently offered by any public institution of higher education when the Council determines that such academic program is (i) nonproductive in terms of the number of degrees granted, the number of students served by the program, the program's effectiveness, and budgetary considerations or (ii) supported by state funds and unnecessarily duplicative of academic programs offered at other public institutions of higher education. The Council shall make a report to the Governor and the General Assembly with respect to the discontinuance of any such academic program. No such discontinuance shall become effective until 30 days after the adjournment of the session of the General Assembly next following the filing of such report.

7. Review and approve or disapprove the establishment of any department, school, college, branch, division, or extension of any public institution of higher education that such institution proposes to establish, whether located on or off the main campus of such institution. If any organizational change is determined by the Council to be proposed solely for the purpose of internal management and the institution's curricular offerings remain constant, the Council shall approve the proposed change. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to authorize the Council to disapprove the establishment of any such department, school, college, branch, division, or extension established by the General Assembly.

8. Review the proposed closure of any academic program in a high demand or critical shortage area, as defined by the Council, by any public institution of higher education and assist in the development of an orderly closure plan, when needed.

9. Develop a uniform, comprehensive data information system designed to gather all information necessary to the performance of the Council's duties. The system shall include information on admissions, enrollment, self-identified students with documented disabilities, personnel, programs, financing, space inventory, facilities, and such other areas as the Council deems appropriate. When consistent with the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act (§ 2.2-3800 et seq.), the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act (§ 60.2-100 et seq.), and applicable federal law, the Council, acting solely or in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education or the Virginia Employment Commission, may contract with private entities to create de-identified student records in which all personally identifiable information has been removed for the purpose of assessing the performance of institutions and specific programs relative to the workforce needs of the Commonwealth.

10. In cooperation with public institutions of higher education, develop guidelines for the assessment of student achievement. Each such institution shall use an approved program that complies with the guidelines of the Council and is consistent with the institution's mission and educational objectives in the development of such assessment. The Council shall report each institution's assessment of student achievement in the revisions to the Commonwealth's statewide strategic plan for higher education.

11. In cooperation with the appropriate state financial and accounting officials, develop and establish uniform standards and systems of accounting, recordkeeping, and statistical reporting for public institutions of higher education.

12. Review biennially and approve or disapprove all changes in the inventory of educational and general space that any public institution of higher education proposes and report such approvals and disapprovals to the Governor and the General Assembly. No such change shall become effective until 30 days after the adjournment of the session of the General Assembly next following the filing of such report.

13. Visit and study the operations of each public institution of higher education at such times as the Council deems appropriate and conduct such other studies in the field of higher education as the Council deems appropriate or as may be requested by the Governor or the General Assembly.

14. Provide advisory services to each accredited nonprofit private institution of higher education whose primary purpose is to provide collegiate or graduate education and not to provide religious training or theological education on academic, administrative, financial, and space utilization matters. The Council may review and advise on joint activities, including contracts for services between public institutions of higher education and such private institutions of higher education or between such private institutions of higher education and any agency or political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

15. Adopt such policies and regulations as the Council deems necessary to implement its duties established by state law. Each public institution of higher education shall comply with such policies and regulations.

16. Issue guidelines consistent with the provisions of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g), requiring public institutions of higher education to release a student's academic and disciplinary record to a student's parent.

17. Require each institution of higher education formed, chartered, or established in the Commonwealth after July 1, 1980, to ensure the preservation of student transcripts in the event of institutional closure or revocation of approval to operate in the Commonwealth. An institution may ensure the preservation of student transcripts by binding agreement with another institution of higher education with which it is not corporately connected or in such other way as the Council may authorize by regulation. In the event that an institution closes or has its approval to operate in the Commonwealth revoked, the Council, through its director, may take such action as is necessary to secure and preserve the student transcripts until such time as an appropriate institution accepts all or some of the transcripts. Nothing in this subdivision shall be deemed to interfere with the right of a student to his own transcripts or authorize disclosure of student records except as may otherwise be authorized by law.

18. Require the development and submission of articulation, dual admissions, and guaranteed admissions agreements between associate-degree-granting and baccalaureate public institutions of higher education.

19. Provide periodic updates of base adequacy funding guidelines adopted by the Joint Subcommittee Studying Higher Education Funding Policies for each public institution of higher education.

20. Develop, pursuant to the provisions of § 23.1-907, guidelines for articulation, dual admissions, and guaranteed admissions agreements, including guidelines related to a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program and a one-semester Passport Program to be offered at each comprehensive community college. The guidelines developed pursuant to this subdivision shall be developed in consultation with all public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, the Department of Education, and the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and shall ensure standardization, quality, and transparency in the implementation of the programs and agreements. At the discretion of the Council, private institutions of higher education eligible for tuition assistance grants may also be consulted.

21. Cooperate with the Board of Education in matters of interest to both public elementary and secondary schools and public institutions of higher education, particularly in connection with coordination of the college admission requirements, coordination of teacher training programs with the public school programs, and the Board of Education's Six-Year Educational Technology Plan for Virginia. The Council shall encourage public institutions of higher education to design programs that include the skills necessary for the successful implementation of such Plan.

22. Advise and provide technical assistance to the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Committee in the implementation and administration of the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program pursuant to Chapter 34.1 (§ 30-231.01 et seq.) of Title 30.

23. Insofar as possible, seek the cooperation and utilize the facilities of existing state departments, institutions, and agencies in carrying out its duties.

24. Serve as the coordinating council for public institutions of higher education.

25. Serve as the planning and coordinating agency for all postsecondary educational programs for all health professions and occupations and make recommendations, including those relating to financing, for providing adequate and coordinated educational programs to produce an appropriate supply of properly trained personnel. The Council may conduct such studies as it deems appropriate in furtherance of the requirements of this subdivision. All state departments and agencies shall cooperate with the Council in the execution of its responsibilities under this subdivision.

26. Carry out such duties as the Governor may assign to it in response to agency designations requested by the federal government.

27. Insofar as practicable, preserve the individuality, traditions, and sense of responsibility of each public institution of higher education in carrying out its duties.

28. Insofar as practicable, seek the assistance and advice of each public institution of higher education in fulfilling its duties and responsibilities.

29. Administer the Virginia Longitudinal Data System as a multiagency partnership for the purposes of developing educational, health, social service, and employment outcome data; improving the efficacy of state services; and aiding decision making.

1956, c. 311, §§ 23-9.5, 23-9.8, 23-9.13; 1970, c. 294, § 23-9.10:1; 1974, c. 544, § 23-9.6:1; 1977, cc. 319, 413, 676, § 23-261; 1979, cc. 2, 28, 136, 145, 619; 1980, c. 728; 1985, c. 448; 1989, c. 105; 1991, cc. 454, 590; 1992, c. 103; 1996, c. 215; 1997, c. 827; 1999, cc. 451, 460; 2001, c. 841; 2002, cc. 95, 158, 257; 2003, cc. 715, 725; 2004, cc. 176, 195, 502; 2005, cc. 753, 818, 834, 933, 945, § 23-9.8:1; 2006, c. 379; 2009, cc. 55, 56; 2010, cc. 68, 527; 2011, cc. 828, 869; 2012, c. 142; 2014, c. 628; 2016, c. 588, 775; 2017, cc. 314, 376, 796, 816; 2018, cc. 832, 845; 2020, cc. 1164, 1169.

§ 23.1-204. Expired.

Expired by the terms of Acts 2012, c. 694, cl. 2, on June 30, 2017.

§ 23.1-204.1. Postgraduation employment rates.

A. The Council shall annually collect and publish on its website data on the proportion of graduates of each public institution of higher education and each nonprofit private institution of higher education eligible to participate in the Tuition Assistance Grant Program (§ 23.1-628 et seq.) who are employed (i) 18 months after the date of graduation and (ii) five years after the date of graduation. The data shall include the program and the program level, as recognized by the Council, for each degree awarded by each institution; the percentage of graduates known to be employed in the Commonwealth, by degree program and level; the average salary, hours worked, as available, occupation or occupation code, as available, and the average higher education-related debt for the graduates on which the data is based, by degree program and level; rates of enrollment in remedial coursework for each institution; individual student credit accumulation for each institution; rates of postsecondary degree completion; and any other information that the Council determines is necessary to address adequate preparation for success in postsecondary education, alignment between secondary and postsecondary education, and alignment between postsecondary education and workforce preparation. The published data shall be consistent with the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act (§ 2.2-3800 et seq.) and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g.

B. The Council shall disseminate to each public high school and each public institution of higher education and private institution of higher education for which the Council has student-level data a link on its website to the published data.

C. The Council shall provide a notification template that each public high school may use to annually notify students and their parents about the availability of such data.

D. Each public institution of higher education and each nonprofit private institution of higher education eligible to participate in the Tuition Assistance Grant Program (§ 23.1-628 et seq.) shall provide a link on its website to the postsecondary education and employment data published pursuant to subsection A and shall make such link available to each admitted student.

2017, c. 376; 2018, cc. 387, 590.

§ 23.1-205. Authority to carry out federal requirements.

The Council may prepare plans, administer federal programs, and receive and disburse any federal funds in accordance with the responsibilities assigned to it by federal statutes or regulations.

1977, c. 676, § 23-261; 1991, c. 590; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-206. Assessments of the performance of public institutions of higher education.

A. 1. The Council shall develop and revise as appropriate, in consultation with the respective Chairmen of the House Committees on Education and Appropriations and the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriations and on Education and Health or their designees, representatives of public institutions of higher education, and such other state officials as may be designated by the Governor, objective measures of educational-related performance and institutional performance benchmarks for such objective measures for each public institution of higher education. At a minimum, the Council shall develop objective measures and institutional performance benchmarks for the goals and objectives set forth in subsection A of § 23.1-1002.

2. The Governor shall develop and revise as appropriate objective measures of financial and administrative management performance and related institutional performance benchmarks for the goals and objectives set forth in subdivision A 11 of § 23.1-1002.

B. The Governor shall include objective measures of financial and administrative management and educational-related performance and related institutional performance benchmarks as described in subsection A in "The Budget Bill" submitted as required by subsection A of § 2.2-1509 or in his proposed gubernatorial amendments to the general appropriation act pursuant to subsection E of § 2.2-1509.

C. The Council shall annually assess the degree to which each public institution of higher education has met the financial and administrative management and educational-related performance benchmarks set forth in the current general appropriation act. Such annual assessment shall be based upon the objective measures and institutional performance benchmarks included in the current general appropriation act. The Council shall request assistance from the Secretaries of Finance and Administration who shall provide such assistance for the purpose of assessing whether public institutions of higher education have met the financial and administrative management performance benchmarks.

No later than June 1 of every fiscal year, the Council shall provide a certified written report of the results of such annual assessment to the Governor and the respective Chairmen of the House Committees on Education and Appropriations and the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriations and on Education and Health.

Each public institution of higher education that is certified by the Council as having met the financial and administrative management and educational-related performance benchmarks in effect for the fiscal year as set forth in the general appropriation act is entitled to the financial benefits set forth in subsection C of § 23.1-1002. Such benefits shall first be provided as determined under such subsection.

2005, cc. 933, 945, § 23-9.6:1.01; 2011, cc. 828, 869; 2013, c. 482; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-207. Tuition relief and refunds and reinstatement for certain students in the Armed Forces.

A. The Council shall issue and revise guidelines for tuition relief, refunds, and reinstatement for students whose service in the Armed Forces of the United States or the Commonwealth has required their sudden withdrawal or prolonged absence from their enrollment in a public institution of higher education and shall provide for the required reenrollment of such students by the relevant institution. These guidelines shall be excluded from the provisions of the Administrative Process Act pursuant to § 2.2-4002.

B. The Council shall appoint an advisory committee of at least 10 representatives of the public institutions of higher education to assist in the development and subsequent revision of such guidelines. The Council shall consult with the Office of the Attorney General and provide opportunity for public comment prior to issuing such guidelines or revisions.

C. Such guidelines shall include procedures for the required reenrollment of students whose service in the Armed Forces of the United States or the Commonwealth precluded their completion of a semester or equivalent term and policies for the required reenrollment of such students in such armed forces.

1991, c. 80, § 23-9.6:2; 2004, c. 740; 2011, c. 27; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-208. Budget requests and recommendations.

A. The Council shall develop policies, formulae, and guidelines for the fair and equitable distribution and use of public funds among the public institutions of higher education, taking into account enrollment projections and recognizing differences and similarities in institutional missions. Such policies, formulae, and guidelines shall include provisions for operating expenses and capital outlay programs and shall be utilized by all public institutions of higher education in preparing requests for appropriations. The Council shall consult with the Department of Planning and Budget in the development of such policies, formulae, and guidelines to ensure that they are consistent with the requirements of the Department of Planning and Budget.

B. Not less than 30 days prior to submitting its biennial budget request to the Governor, the governing board of each public institution of higher education shall transmit to the Council such selected budgetary information relating to its budget request for maintenance and operation and for capital outlay as the Council shall reasonably require. The Council shall analyze such information in light of the Council's plans, policies, formulae, and guidelines and shall submit to the Governor recommendations for approval or modification of each institution's request together with a rationale for each such recommendation. The Council shall make available to the General Assembly its analyses and recommendations concerning institutional budget requests.

C. Nothing in this section shall prevent any institution of higher education from appearing through its representatives or otherwise before the Governor, the Governor's advisory committee on the budget, the General Assembly, or any committee of the General Assembly at any time.

D. Funds for any consortium created by The College of William and Mary in Virginia, Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for the purpose of promoting graduate marine science education may be included in the budget request of and the appropriations to the Council.

1956, c. 311, § 23-9.9; 1974, c. 544; 1979, c. 294, § 23-9.9:1; 1991, c. 590; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-209. Reports of expenditures of state funds.

The governing board of each public institution of higher education shall provide the Council annual data indicating the apportionment and amounts of expenditures that the relevant institution expends by category, including academic costs, administration, research, and public service, as defined by the Council. The Council shall compile and submit a report of such data annually to the Governor and the General Assembly.

2003, c. 184, § 23-9.9:01; 2007, c. 630; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-210. Advisory services to accredited nonprofit private institutions of higher education; Private College Advisory Board.

A. The Council shall provide advisory services to accredited nonprofit private institutions of higher education on academic and administrative matters. The Council may review and advise on joint activities, including contracts for services, between nonprofit private institutions of higher education and public institutions of higher education and between nonprofit private institutions of higher education and any agency or political subdivision of the Commonwealth. The Council may collect and analyze such data as may be pertinent to such activities.

B. The Council shall seek the advice of the Private College Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board shall assist the Council in the performance of its duties as required by subsection A. The Private College Advisory Board shall be composed of representatives of nonprofit private institutions of higher education and such other members as the Council may select and shall be broadly representative of nonprofit private institutions of higher education.

C. The Private College Advisory Board shall meet at least once each year.

1974, c. 40, § 23-9.10:2; 1980, c. 728; 1985, c. 448; 2016, c. 588; 2017, c. 314.

§ 23.1-211. Distance learning reciprocity agreements; participation; Distance Learning Reciprocity Advisory Council.

A. The Council may enter into interstate reciprocity agreements that authorize accredited associate-degree-granting and baccalaureate (i) public institutions of higher education and (ii) private institutions of higher education to offer postsecondary distance education. The Council shall administer such agreements and shall approve or disapprove participation in such agreements by accredited associate-degree-granting and baccalaureate (a) public institutions of higher education and (b) private institutions of higher education. Participation in the agreements is voluntary.

B. The Council shall establish the Distance Learning Reciprocity Advisory Council, which shall include representatives from each institution that offers postsecondary distance education pursuant to an interstate reciprocity agreement as set forth in subsection A. The Advisory Council shall advise the Council on the development of policies governing the terms of participation by eligible institutions, including the establishment of fees to be paid by participating institutions to cover direct and indirect administrative costs incurred by the Council.

2014, c. 323, § 23-9.14:3; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-212. Effect upon powers of governing boards of public institutions of higher education; endowment funds.

A. The powers of the governing boards of public institutions of higher education over the affairs of such institutions are not impaired by the provisions of this chapter except to the extent that powers and duties are specifically conferred upon the Council in this chapter.

B. The Council shall have no authority over the solicitation, investment, or expenditure of endowment funds now held or in the future received by any public institution of higher education.

1956, c. 311, § 23-9.14; 1974, c. 544; 2016, c. 588.