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
10/24/2021

Chapter 3. The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011.

§ 23.1-300. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"College degree" means an undergraduate degree from an accredited associate-degree-granting or baccalaureate (i) public institution of higher education or (ii) private institution of higher education.

"Cost of education" means the operating funds necessary during a fiscal year to provide educational and general services, other than research and public service, to students attending an institution in that fiscal year.

"Educational and general fees" means fees over and above tuition charged for certain educational and general services.

"Educational and general services" means services associated with instruction, academic support, student services, institutional support, research, public service, or operation and maintenance of physical plant, with adjustments based on particular state policies relating to specific institutional conditions. "Educational and general services" does not include services associated with programs and administrative services that are required to be self-supporting or are otherwise supported by funds other than general funds, such as food services, university-owned or university-leased dormitories or other living facilities, athletics programs, or other self-supporting programs.

"Enrollment" or "student enrollment" means the number of full-time equivalent students.

"Fiscal year" means the period from July 1 of one calendar year to June 30 of the next calendar year.

"Peer institutions" means those institutions determined by the Council, in consultation with a public institution of higher education, the Secretary of Education or his designee, the Director of the Department of Planning and Budget or his designee, and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations or their designees, to be most similar to such public institution of higher education and provide a fair comparison in determining appropriate and competitive faculty salaries for such public institution of higher education.

"Public institution of higher education" does not include each comprehensive community college.

"STEM" means science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

"Student" means a full-time or part-time undergraduate, graduate, or professional student attending a public institution of higher education and enrolled in a degree program.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:11; 2016, c. 588.

§ 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.

§ 23.1-302. Public institutions of higher education; funding.

Each public institution of higher education shall receive funds from the state general fund or sources other than the state general fund, or both, for each fiscal year of each biennium for:

1. Basic operations and instruction, as provided in § 23.1-303;

2. Each Virginia undergraduate student actually enrolled at the institution, as provided in § 23.1-304;

3. Need-based financial aid, as provided in § 23.1-306; and

4. Support for targeted financial incentives that encourage and reward progress toward the policy objectives specified in this chapter, as provided in § 23.1-305.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:12; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-303. Calculation of state general fund share of an institution's basic operations and instruction funding need; cost of education.

A. Following consultation with each public institution of higher education and the Higher Education Advisory Committee described in § 23.1-309, the Council shall calculate the basic operations and instruction funding need of each public institution of higher education as provided in subsection B for each year of the next biennium and make such calculation available to the Governor, the General Assembly, and all public institutions of higher education. The Governor shall take into account each institution's basic operations and instruction funding need and the Commonwealth's funding split policy established in the general appropriation act by which 67 percent of an institution's cost of education for Virginia students is funded from the state general fund and 33 percent from funds other than the state general fund during the preparation of his proposed biennial budget bill for the next biennium, and the General Assembly shall take such items into account in enacting the general appropriation act for the next biennium. Between such biennial recalculations, the General Assembly may increase or decrease the appropriation of basic operations and instruction funding to a public institution of higher education to correspond with an increase or decrease in Virginia undergraduate student enrollment at the institution as provided in § 23.1-304, or the institution's meeting or not meeting targeted financial incentives listed in § 23.1-305, or for any other purpose deemed appropriate by the General Assembly.

B. The basic operations and instruction funding need of each public institution of higher education for each fiscal year of the biennium shall consist of the sum of (i) the institution's cost of education for the total enrollment in actual attendance during the fiscal year that ended on June 30 of each odd-numbered year, which shall be determined using a cost-based funding policy that consists of (a) a set of formulas for calculating (1) educational cost based on faculty-student ratios by discipline and level and (2) the educational and general programs of instruction, academic support, student services, institutional support, and operation and maintenance of physical plant and (b) adjustments based on particular state policies or specific institutional missions or conditions; (ii) the amount required to reach the Commonwealth's faculty salary goal of the 60th percentile of the most recently reported average faculty salaries paid by that institution's peer institutions as established in the general appropriation act; and (iii) such other funding for educational and general services as the General Assembly may appropriate.

C. State general funds shall be allocated and appropriated to public institutions of higher education in a fair and equitable manner such that, to the extent practicable, the percentage of the cost of education for Virginia students enrolled at an institution to be funded from state general funds is the same for each institution. To the extent that the percentages differ among institutions, that fact shall be taken into account as the Governor deems appropriate in his proposed biennial budget bill and by the General Assembly as it deems appropriate in the general appropriation act.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:13; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-304. Per student enrollment-based funding at public institutions of higher education.

A. To incentivize undergraduate Virginia student enrollment growth at the Commonwealth's public institutions of higher education in furtherance of the increased degree conferral purpose of this chapter, the Governor shall recommend and the General Assembly shall determine and appropriate to such institutions a per student amount that follows each Virginia undergraduate student to the public institution of higher education in which the student enrolls. Recommendations regarding such Virginia undergraduate student enrollment growth incentive shall be developed and reviewed as provided in subdivision B 1 of § 23.1-309.

B. The Governor shall consider and may recommend and the General Assembly shall consider and may provide additional general fund appropriations to address the unfunded enrollment growth that occurred between the 2005-2006 fiscal year and July 1, 2011.

C. To assist the General Assembly in determining the per student amount provided for in subsection A and its relation to the per student amount provided to nonprofit private institutions of higher education pursuant to the Tuition Assistance Grant Act (§ 23.1-628 et seq.), each nonprofit private institution of higher education eligible to participate in the Tuition Assistance Grant Program shall submit to the Council its Virginia student enrollment projections for that fiscal year and its actual Virginia student enrollment for the prior fiscal year in a manner determined by the Council. The student admissions policies for such private institutions and their specific programs shall remain the sole responsibility of the governing boards of such individual institutions.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:14; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-305. Public institutions of higher education; targeted economic and innovation incentives.

A. The Governor shall consider and may recommend and the General Assembly shall consider and may fund targeted economic and innovation incentives to achieve the objective and purposes of this chapter. Such incentives may include incentives based on the economic opportunity metrics developed pursuant to subdivision B 4 of § 23.1-309 and incentives for:

1. Increased enrollment of Virginia students, in addition to the per student funding provided by § 23.1-304;

2. Increased degree completion for Virginia residents who have partial credit completion for a degree;

3. Increased degree completion in a timely or expedited manner;

4. Improved retention and graduation rates;

5. Increased degree production in STEM or other high-need areas such as the health care-related professions;

6. Increased research, including regional and public-private collaboration;

7. Optimal year-round utilization of resources and other efficiency reforms designed to reduce total institutional cost;

8. Technology-enhanced instruction, including course redesign, online instruction, and resource sharing among institutions; and

9. Enhanced comprehensive community college transfer programs and grants and other enhanced degree path programs.

B. The Governor and the General Assembly shall consider maintenance of effort initiatives for individual institutions with unique missions and demonstrable performance in specific incentive areas identified pursuant to subsection A.

C. The criteria for measuring whether the incentive areas in subsection A have been met, and the benefits or consequences for meeting or not meeting such incentive areas, shall be developed and reviewed as provided in subdivisions B 3 and 4 of § 23.1-309.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:16; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-306. Public institutions of higher education; six-year plans; institutional partnership performance agreements.

A. The governing board of each public institution of higher education shall (i) develop and adopt biennially in odd-numbered years and amend or affirm biennially in even-numbered years a six-year plan for the institution; (ii) submit a preliminary version of such plan to the Council, the General Assembly, the Governor, and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations no later than July 1 of each odd-numbered year; and (iii) submit preliminary amendments to or a preliminary affirmation of each such plan to the Council, the General Assembly, the Governor, and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations no later than July 1 of each even-numbered year. Each such preliminary plan and preliminary amendment to or preliminary affirmation of such plan shall include a report of the institution's active contributions to efforts to stimulate the economic development of the Commonwealth, the area in which the institution is located, and, for those institutions subject to a management agreement set forth in Article 4 (§ 23.1-1004 et seq.) of Chapter 10, the areas that lag behind the Commonwealth in terms of income, employment, and other factors. Each such preliminary plan and preliminary amendment to or preliminary affirmation of such plan shall be submitted as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports. No such preliminary plan, amendments, or affirmation shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

B. The Secretary of Finance, the Secretary of Education, the Director of the Department of Planning and Budget, the Director of the Council, the Staff Director of the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, or their designees, shall review each institution's preliminary plan, amendments, or affirmation and provide comments to the institution on such plan, amendments, or affirmation by September 1 of the relevant year. Each institution shall respond to any such comments by October 1 of that year and submit a finalized version of such plan, amendments, or affirmation to the Council, the General Assembly, the Governor, and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations no later than December 1 of that year. Each such finalized version shall be submitted as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

C. Each plan shall be structured in accordance with, and be consistent with, the objective and purposes of this chapter set forth in § 23.1-301 and the criteria developed pursuant to § 23.1-309 and shall be in a form and manner prescribed by the Council, in consultation with the Secretary of Finance, the Secretary of Education, the Director of the Department of Planning and Budget, the Director of the Council, the Staff Director of the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, or their designees.

D. Each six-year plan shall (i) address the institution's academic, financial, and enrollment plans, including the number of Virginia and non-Virginia students, for the six-year period; (ii) indicate the planned use of any projected increase in general fund, tuition, or other nongeneral fund revenues; (iii) be based upon any assumptions provided by the Council, following consultation with the Department of Planning and Budget and the staffs of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, for funding relating to state general fund support pursuant to §§ 23.1-303, 23.1-304, and 23.1-305 and subdivision 9; (iv) be aligned with the institution's six-year enrollment projections; and (v) include:

1. Financial planning reflecting the institution's anticipated level of general fund, tuition, and other nongeneral fund support for each year of the next biennium;

2. The institution's anticipated annual tuition and educational and general fee charges required by (i) degree level and (ii) domiciliary status, as provided in § 23.1-307;

3. Plans for providing financial aid to help mitigate the impact of tuition and fee increases on low-income and middle-income students and their families as described in subdivision 9, including the projected mix of grants and loans;

4. Degree conferral targets for undergraduate Virginia students;

5. Plans for optimal year-round use of the institution's facilities and instructional resources;

6. Plans for the development of an instructional resource-sharing program with other public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education;

7. Plans with regard to any other incentives set forth in § 23.1-305 or any other matters the institution deems appropriate;

8. The identification of (i) new programs or initiatives including quality improvements and (ii) institution-specific funding based on particular state policies or institution-specific programs, or both, as provided in subsection C of § 23.1-307; and

9. An institutional student financial aid commitment that, in conjunction with general funds appropriated for that purpose, provides assistance to students from both low-income and middle-income families and takes into account the information and recommendations resulting from the review of federal and state financial aid programs and institutional practices conducted pursuant to subdivisions B 2 and C 1 of § 23.1-309.

E. In developing such plans, each public institution of higher education shall consider potential future impacts of tuition increases on the Virginia College Savings Plan and ABLE Savings Trust Accounts (§ 23.1-700 et seq.) and shall discuss such potential impacts with the Virginia College Savings Plan. The chief executive officer of the Virginia College Savings Plan shall provide to each institution the Plan's assumptions underlying the contract pricing of the program.

F. 1. In conjunction with the plans included in the six-year plan as set forth in subsection D, each public institution of higher education, Richard Bland College, and the Virginia Community College System may submit one innovative proposal with clearly defined performance measures, including any request for necessary authority or support from the Commonwealth, for a performance pilot. If the General Assembly approves the proposed performance pilot, it shall include approval language in the general appropriation act. A performance pilot shall advance the objectives of this chapter by addressing innovative requests related to college access, affordability, cost predictability, enrollment management subject to specified commitments regarding undergraduate in-state student enrollment, alternative tuition and fee structures and affordable pathways to degree attainment, internships and work study, employment pathways for undergraduate Virginia students, strategic talent development, state or regional economic development, pathways to increase timely degree completion, or other priorities set out in the general appropriation act.

2. A performance pilot may include or constitute an institutional partnership performance agreement, which shall be set forth in a memorandum of understanding that includes mutually dependent commitments by the institution, the Commonwealth, and identified partners, if any, related to one or more of the priorities set forth in subdivision 1 or set forth in a general appropriation act. No such institutional partnership performance agreement shall create a legally enforceable obligation of the Commonwealth.

3. No more than six performance pilots shall be approved in a single session of the General Assembly.

4. Development and approval of any performance pilot proposal shall proceed in tandem with consideration of the institution's six-year plan, as follows:

a. An institution that intends to propose a performance pilot shall communicate that intention as early as practicable, but not later than April 1 of the year in which the performance pilot will be proposed, to the reviewers listed in subsection B, the co-chairmen of the Joint Subcommittee on the Future Competitiveness of Virginia Higher Education, and the Governor. In developing a proposed performance pilot, the institution shall consider the Commonwealth's educational and economic policies and priorities, including those reflected in the Virginia Plan for Higher Education issued by the Council, the economic development policy developed pursuant to § 2.2-205, the strategic plan developed pursuant to § 2.2-2237.1, relevant regional economic growth and diversification plans prepared by regional councils pursuant to the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Act (§ 2.2-2484 et seq.), and any additional guidance provided by the Joint Subcommittee on the Future Competitiveness of Virginia Higher Education and the Governor.

b. An institution that submits a performance pilot shall include the one innovative proposal with clearly defined performance measures, and any corresponding authority and support requested from the Commonwealth, with its submission of the preliminary version of its six-year plan pursuant to clause (ii) of subsection A or with its preliminary amendment or affirmation submission pursuant to clause (iii) of subsection A.

c. The reviewers listed in subsection B, or their designees, shall review and comment on any proposed performance pilot in accordance with the six-year plan review and comment process established in subsection B and may expedite such review and comment process to facilitate the executive and legislative budget process or for other reasons. No later than October 15 of the relevant year, the reviewers shall communicate to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations their recommendations regarding each performance pilot proposal. Such recommendations shall include the reviewers' comments regarding how the proposed performance pilots, individually and collectively, support the strategic educational and economic policies of the Commonwealth.

d. Each performance pilot proposal shall include evidence of its approval by the institution's governing board and, if accepted, shall be referenced in the general appropriation act.

2011, cc. 828, 869, §§ 23-38.87:15, 23-38.87:17; 2016, cc. 149, 588; 2018, c. 487; 2019, cc. 794, 795.

§ 23.1-307. Public institutions of higher education; tuition and fees.

A. The governing board of each public institution of higher education shall continue to fix, revise, charge, and collect tuition, fees, rates, rentals, and other charges for the services, goods, or facilities furnished by or on behalf of such institution and may adopt policies regarding any such service rendered or the use, occupancy, or operation of any such facility.

B. Except to the extent included in the institution's six-year plan as provided in subsection C, if the total of an institution's tuition and educational and general fees for any fiscal year for Virginia students exceeds the difference for such fiscal year between (i) the institution's cost of education for all students, as calculated pursuant to clause (i) of subsection B of § 23.1-303 and (ii) the sum of the tuition and educational and general fees for non-Virginia students, the state general funds appropriated for its basic operations and instruction pursuant to subsection A of § 23.1-303, and its per student funding provided pursuant to § 23.1-304, the institution shall forgo new state funding at a level above the general funds received by the institution during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, at the discretion of the General Assembly, and shall be obligated to provide increased financial aid to maintain affordability for students from low-income and middle-income families. This limitation shall not apply to any portion of tuition and educational and general fees for Virginia students allocated to student financial aid, an institution's share of state-mandated salary or fringe benefit increases, increases in funds other than state general funds for the improvement of faculty salary competitiveness above the level included in the calculation in clause (i) of subsection B of § 23.1-303, the institution's progress towards achieving any financial incentive pursuant to § 23.1-305, unavoidable cost increases such as operation and maintenance for new facilities and utility rate increases, or other items directly attributable to an institution's unique mission and contributions.

C. Nothing in subsection B shall prohibit an institution from including in its six-year plan required by § 23.1-306 (i) new programs or initiatives including quality improvements or (ii) institution-specific funding based on particular state policies or institution-specific programs, or both, that will cause the total of the institution's tuition and educational and general fees for any fiscal year for Virginia students to exceed the difference for such fiscal year between (a) the institution's cost of education for all students, as calculated pursuant to clause (i) of subsection B of § 23.1-303, and (b) the sum of the tuition and educational and general fees for the institution's non-Virginia students, the state general funds appropriated for its basic operations and instruction pursuant to subsection A of § 23.1-303, and its per student funding provided pursuant to § 23.1-304.

D. No governing board of any public institution of higher education shall approve an increase in undergraduate tuition or mandatory fees without providing students and the public a projected range of the planned increase, an explanation of the need for the increase, and notice of (i) the date, time, and location of the meeting at which public comment is permitted pursuant to subsection E on the institution's website and through any other standard means of communication utilized by the institution with students at least 10 days prior to such meeting and (ii) the date and location of any vote on such increase at least 30 days prior to such vote.

E. Prior to any vote referenced in subsection D, the governing board of each public institution of higher education shall permit public comment on the proposed increase at a meeting, as that term is defined in § 2.2-3701, of the governing board. Each such governing board shall establish policies for such public comment, which may include reasonable time limitations.

F. At any meeting at which the governing board of a public institution of higher education approves an increase in undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees, the governing board shall provide an explanation of any deviation from the projected range provided pursuant to subsection D.

G. No later than August 1 of each year, the Council shall provide to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations a report on any increase in undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at a public institution of higher education, the public comment relating to such increase in undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees, and any deviation in the increase in undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees from the increase projected in the institutional six-year plan provided pursuant to § 23.1-306.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:18; 2016, c. 588; 2017, c. 523; 2019, cc. 583, 584, 588; 2020, c. 435.

§ 23.1-308. STEM public-private partnership established; duties.

A. To (i) increase the number of students completing degrees in the high-demand, high-impact STEM fields and other high-demand, anticipated-shortage fields such as the health care-related professions and (ii) help develop and guide the implementation of a comprehensive plan for higher degree attainment in these fields, the Secretaries of Education and Finance, in cooperation with the House Committees on Appropriations and Education and the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriations and on Education and Health, shall form a public-private partnership comprised of private-sector leaders, distinguished representatives from the scientific community, including retired military personnel, government scientists, and researchers, educational experts, relevant state and local government officials, and such other individuals as they deem appropriate.

B. The partnership shall advise on, and may collaborate with public and private entities to develop and implement strategies to address, such priority issues as (i) determining the need for additional high-demand degree enrollment, capacity, and resources at public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education; (ii) incentivizing greater coordination, innovation, and private collaboration in kindergarten through secondary school STEM and other high-demand degree initiatives; (iii) determining and refining best practices in STEM instruction and leveraging those best practices to promote STEM education in both the Commonwealth's institutions of higher education and its elementary and secondary schools; (iv) enhancing teacher education and professional development in STEM disciplines; (v) strengthening mathematics readiness in secondary schools through earlier diagnosis and remediation of deficiencies; (vi) providing financial incentives to increase STEM enrollment and degree production at the Commonwealth's institutions of higher education; (vii) providing assistance to public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education in the acquisition and improvement of STEM-related facilities and equipment; (viii) providing STEM incentives in early pathway programs at institutions of higher education and in the Two-Year College Transfer Grant Program; (ix) assessing degree programs using such economic opportunity metrics as marketplace demand, earning potential, and employer satisfaction and other indicators of the historical and projected economic value and impact of degrees to provide useful information on degrees to students as they make career choices and to state policy makers and university decision makers as they decide how to allocate scarce resources; (x) aligning state higher education efforts with marketplace demands; and (xi) determining such other issues as the partnership deems relevant to increasing the number of students completing degrees in STEM and other high-demand fields at institutions of higher education.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:19; 2016, c. 588; 2017, c. 314.

§ 23.1-309. Higher Education Advisory Committee established; duties.

A. The Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the Secretary of Finance, and each public institution of higher education, shall convene a Higher Education Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) to provide advice and make recommendations on the matters set forth in subsections B, C, and D. The Advisory Committee shall consist of at least 11 members as follows: one representative of the Office of the Secretary of Education appointed by the Secretary of Education who shall serve as chair of the Advisory Committee; one representative of the Office of the Secretary of Finance appointed by the Secretary of Finance; one representative of the Council appointed by the Chairman of the Council; the staff directors of the House Appropriations Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, or their designees; and the presidents or their designees of five public institutions of higher education, which shall include two doctoral institutions, two comprehensive institutions, and one comprehensive community college, appointed by the presidents of the public institutions of higher education, and a representative from a nonprofit private institution of higher education appointed by the Governor who shall not provide advice or make recommendations concerning policies that solely impact public institutions of higher education. Both the Governor and the Advisory Committee may designate other individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee, including representatives of academic and instructional faculty or fiscal officers of public institutions of higher education.

B. Consistent with the objective and purposes of this chapter identified in § 23.1-301, the Advisory Committee shall develop and subsequently review at least once every five years, in consultation with the staff of the Council and the respective Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and on Education and the Chairmen of 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, and with assistance from the staff of the Council and such other assistance as it may require:

1. The methodology established pursuant to subsection A of § 23.1-304 for determining how a significant increment of state funding shall follow the student to the associate-degree-granting or baccalaureate public institution of higher education in which the student enrolls, how the amount of such per student funding for baccalaureate public institutions of higher education will be made to correspond as nearly as practical to the per student allocation envisioned under the then-existing appropriation for the Tuition Assistance Grant Act (§ 23.1-628 et seq.) for students attending nonprofit private institutions of higher education, how and as of what date the student enrollment at each public institution of higher education shall be calculated, and how an increase or decrease in Virginia undergraduate student enrollment above or below the enrollment level used to calculate the institution's funding pursuant to § 23.1-303 shall be reflected in the institution's appropriation pursuant to subsection A of § 23.1-304, and the standards and process for determining whether an increase or decrease in Virginia undergraduate student enrollment qualifies for funding pursuant to § 23.1-304;

2. Criteria for determining which families qualify as "low-income" and "middle-income" for purposes of § 23.1-306 and how they relate to federal, state, and institutional policies governing the provision of financial assistance to students of such families;

3. Objective performance criteria for measuring the financial incentives set forth in § 23.1-305 and the benefits of meeting or consequences of not meeting the incentives included in an institution's six-year plan pursuant to § 23.1-306;

4. Economic opportunity metrics such as marketplace demand, earning potential, and employer satisfaction and other indicators of the historical and projected economic value of degrees that can be used to assess degree programs in order to provide useful information on the economic impact of degrees to students as they make career choices and state policy makers and university decision makers as they decide how to allocate scarce resources;

5. The additional authority that should be granted to all public institutions of higher education under the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act (§ 23.1-1000 et seq.), state goals and objectives each public institution of higher education should be expected to achieve, objective criteria for measuring educational-related performance with regard to those goals and objectives, and the benefits of meeting or consequences of not meeting those goals and objectives, including those set forth in subsection C of § 23.1-1002; and

6. The role of private institutions of higher education in addressing the goals set forth in this chapter and recommendations regarding such matters.

The Advisory Committee shall submit its recommendations to the Council, which shall review the recommendations and report its recommendations to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and on Education and the Chairmen of the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriations and on Education and Health.

C. Consistent with the objective and purposes of this chapter identified in § 23.1-301, the Advisory Committee shall review at least every five years, in consultation with the staff of the Council, the respective Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and on Education and the Chairmen of 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, and with assistance from the staff of the Council and such other assistance as it may require:

1. Federal and state financial aid programs and institutional practices to ensure that the appropriate level of financial assistance is being provided to both low-income and middle-income families, as required by § 23.1-306, including loan forgiveness programs targeted by purpose in furtherance of the objective of this chapter; and

2. The Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act (§ 23.1-1000 et seq.) to identify additional ways to reduce costs and enhance efficiency by increasing managerial autonomy with accountability at the institutional level.

The Advisory Committee shall submit its recommendations to the Council, which shall review the recommendations and report its recommendations to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and Education and the Senate Committees on Finance and on Education and Health.

D. The Advisory Committee shall periodically assess, based upon the institutions' six-year plans and other relevant factors, the degree to which the Commonwealth's system of higher education is meeting the statewide objectives of economic impact, reform, affordability, and access reflected in this chapter and the strategic impact of new general fund investments on achieving those objectives. The Advisory Committee shall submit its assessment and recommendations to the Council, which shall review the assessment and recommendations and report its recommendations to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and on Education and the Chairmen of the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriations and on Education and Health.

E. In addition to providing advice and making recommendations on the matters set forth in subsections B, C, and D, the Advisory Committee shall perform such other duties and undertake such other responsibilities as requested by the Governor or the General Assembly.

2011, cc. 828, 869, §§ 23-38.87:15, 23-38.87:20; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-310. Assessment and certification of institutions by the Council.

The Council shall annually assess the degree to which each institution has satisfied any goals or criteria developed by the Higher Education Advisory Committee pursuant to § 23.1-309 and no later than October 1 of each fiscal year provide a certified written report of the results of such annual assessment to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and Education and the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriations and on Education and Health. In order to assist the Council in its assessment, each public institution of higher education, and each nonprofit private institution of higher education eligible for and seeking to qualify for state general funds, shall furnish periodic reports, including copies of institutional financial aid audit reports and audited financial statements, and such other pertinent information, including student-level data, as may be required by the Council.

2011, cc. 828, 869, § 23-38.87:21; 2016, c. 588.