Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 23.1. Institutions of Higher Education; Other Educational and Cultural Institutions
Chapter 9. Academic Policies
5/27/2022

Chapter 9. Academic Policies.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 23.1-900. Academic transcripts; suspension, permanent dismissal, or withdrawal from institution.

A. As used in this section, "sexual violence" means physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or against a person incapable of giving consent.

B. The registrar of each (i) private institution of higher education that is eligible to participate in the Tuition Assistance Grant Program pursuant to the Tuition Assistance Grant Act (§ 23.1-628 et seq.) or to receive project financing from the Virginia College Building Authority pursuant to Article 2 (§ 23.1-1220 et seq.) of Chapter 12 and (ii) public institution of higher education, or the other employee, office, or department of the institution that is responsible for maintaining student academic records, shall include a prominent notation on the academic transcript of each student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence under the institution's code, rules, or set of standards governing student conduct stating that such student was suspended for, was permanently dismissed for, or withdrew from the institution while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence under the institution's code, rules, or set of standards. Such notation shall be substantially in the following form: "[Suspended, Dismissed, or Withdrew while under investigation] for a violation of [insert name of institution's code, rules, or set of standards]." Each such institution shall (a) notify each student that any such suspension, permanent dismissal, or withdrawal will be documented on the student's academic transcript; (b) adopt a procedure for removing such notation from the academic transcript of any student who is subsequently found not to have committed an offense involving sexual violence under the institution's code, rules, or set of standards governing student conduct; and (c) adopt a policy for the expungement of such notation for good cause shown and after a period of three years.

C. The institution shall remove from a student's academic transcript any notation placed on such transcript pursuant to subsection B due to such student's suspension if the student (i) completed the term and any conditions of the suspension and (ii) has been determined by the institution to be in good standing according to the institution's code, rules, or set of standards governing such a determination.

D. The provisions of this section shall apply only to a student who is taking or has taken a course at a public institution of higher education or private institution of higher education on a campus that is located in the Commonwealth; however, the provisions of this section shall not apply to any public institution of higher education established pursuant to Chapter 25 (§ 23.1-2500 et seq.).

2015, c. 771, § 23-9.2:18; 2016, c. 588; 2020, c. 433.

§ 23.1-900.01. Diplomas; proof of education; method.

A. 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 most appropriate, in either electronic or paper form.

B. The Council shall post on its website a statement in accordance with the provisions of subsection A.

2018, c. 515.

§ 23.1-900.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2018, c. 751, cl. 2.

Article 2. Programs of Instruction.

§ 23.1-901. Programs on economics education and financial literacy.

A. Public institutions of higher education shall promote the development of student life skills by including the principles of economics education and financial literacy within an existing general education course, the freshman orientation process, or another appropriate venue. Such principles may include instruction concerning personal finance such as credit card use, opening and managing an account in a financial institution, completing a loan application, managing student loans, savings and investments, consumer rights and responsibilities, predatory lending practices and interest rates, consumer fraud, identity theft and protection, and debt management.

B. The Council shall encourage private institutions of higher education to include such principles as part of their student orientation programs.

2005, c. 741, § 23-9.2:3.5; 2007, c. 47; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-902. Education preparation programs offered by institutions of higher education.

A. Education preparation programs offered by public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education shall meet the requirements for accreditation and program approval as prescribed by the Board of Education in its regulations.

B. The Board of Education may prescribe in its regulations requirements for admission to approved education preparation programs in the Commonwealth.

C. Any candidate who fails to achieve the minimum score established by the Board of Education may be denied entrance into an education preparation program on the basis of such failure, but any such candidate who gains entrance and enrolls in an education preparation program shall have the opportunity to address all deficiencies.

D. Education preparation programs offered by public institutions of higher education and private institutions of higher education shall ensure that, as a condition of degree completion, each student enrolled in the education preparation program receives instruction on positive behavior interventions and supports; crisis prevention and de-escalation; the use of physical restraint and seclusion, consistent with regulations of the Board of Education; and appropriate alternative methods to reduce and prevent the need for the use of physical restraint and seclusion.

2006, cc. 27, 349, § 23-9.2:3.6; 2016, c. 588; 2019, cc. 63, 407; 2020, c. 870.

§ 23.1-902.1. Education preparation programs; reading specialists; dyslexia.

Each education preparation program offered by a public institution of higher education or private institution of higher education that leads to a degree, concentration, or certificate for reading specialists shall include a program of coursework and other training in the identification of and the appropriate interventions, accommodations, and teaching techniques for students with dyslexia or a related disorder. Such program shall (i) include coursework in the constructs and pedagogy underlying remediation of reading, spelling, and writing and (ii) require reading specialists to demonstrate mastery of an evidence-based, structured literacy instructional approach that includes explicit, systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction.

2018, cc. 282, 588.

§ 23.1-903. Distance learning.

Each public institution of higher education shall include in its strategic plan information indicating to what extent, if any, it will use distance learning to expand access to, improve the quality of, and minimize the cost of education at such institution. For institutions that use distance learning or plan to use distance learning in the future, such information shall include the degree to which distance learning will be integrated into the curriculum, benchmarks for measuring such integration, and a schedule for the evaluation of distance learning courses.

The Council shall assist the governing board of each public institution of higher education in the development of such information.

2004, c. 146, § 23-9.2:7; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-903.1. Study abroad programs.

A. As used in this section, "study abroad program" means a program sponsored, offered, or approved for credit by an institution of higher education in which program participants travel outside the United States in connection with an educational experience.

B. The Council shall develop guidelines for study abroad programs.

2016, c. 572.

§ 23.1-903.2. Medical school; rotation requirement.

Any public institution of higher education that awards medical degrees shall create and support at least one clinical rotation in a hospital or clinic located in a medically underserved area of the state as determined by the Virginia Department of Health, in an area of the state that has an unemployment rate of one and one-half times the statewide average unemployment rate, or in a locality with a population of 50,000 or less in the Commonwealth.

2016, c. 691.

§ 23.1-903.3. Mortuary science education; practical experience requirement.

Every public institution of higher education that offers a degree in mortuary science shall require students to complete practical experience in the areas of funeral service and embalming prior to graduation from such program.

2018, c. 186.

§ 23.1-903.4. Innovative Internship Fund and Program.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Innovative Internship Fund (the Fund). The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All funds appropriated for such purpose and any gifts, donations, grants, bequests, and other funds received on its behalf shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes of the Innovative Internship Program established pursuant to subsection B. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director of the Council.

B. There is hereby established the Innovative Internship Program (the Program). The purpose of the Program is to expand paid or credit-bearing student internship and other work-based learning opportunities in collaboration with Virginia employers. The Program comprises institutional grants and a statewide initiative to facilitate the readiness of students, employers, and institutions of higher education to participate in internship and other work-based learning opportunities.

1. In administering the statewide initiative, the Council shall (i) engage stakeholders from business and industry, secondary and higher education, economic development, and state agencies and entities that are successfully engaging employers or successfully operating internship programs; (ii) explore strategies in Virginia and elsewhere on successful institutional, regional, statewide or sector-based internship programs; (iii) gather data on current institutional internship practices, scale, and outcomes; (iv) develop internship readiness educational resources, delivery methods, certification procedures, and outreach and awareness activities for employer partners, students, and institutional career development personnel; (v) pursue shared services or other efficiency initiatives, including technological solutions; and (vi) create a process to track key measures of performance.

2. The Council shall establish eligibility criteria, including requirements for matching funds, for institutional grants. Such grants shall be used to accomplish one or more of the following goals: (i) support state or regional workforce needs; (ii) support initiatives to attract and retain talent in the Commonwealth; (iii) support research and research commercialization in sectors and clusters targeted for development; (iv) support regional economic growth and diversification plans; (v) enhance the job readiness of students; (vi) enhance higher education affordability and timely completion for Virginia students; or (vii) further the objectives of increasing the tech talent pipeline.

2019, cc. 794, 795.

Article 3. Course Credit.

§ 23.1-904. Course credit; veterans; active duty military students.

A. The governing board of each public institution of higher education shall implement policies that provide students called to active military duty during an academic semester with the opportunity to earn full course credit. Such policies shall provide, as one option, that such students who have completed 75 percent of the course requirements at the time of activation and who meet other specified requirements receive full course credit.

B. The governing board of each public institution of higher education shall, in accordance with guidelines developed by the Council, implement policies for the purpose of awarding academic credit to students for educational experience gained from service in the Armed Forces of the United States.

C. The governing board of each public institution of higher education shall, in accordance with guidelines developed by the Council, implement policies that recognize the scheduling difficulties and obligations encountered by active duty members of the Armed Forces of the United States.

2009, c. 190, § 23-9.2:3.7; 2012, cc. 167, 169; 2016, c. 588.

§ 23.1-905. Academic credit for American Sign Language.

A. Each public institution of higher education shall develop policies for counting credit received for successful completion of foreign language courses, including American Sign Language courses, either in a secondary school or another institution of higher education toward satisfaction of the foreign language entrance, placement, and course credit requirements of the public institution of higher education that are uniform across each foreign language program offered by the institution.

B. Each public institution of higher education shall count credit received for successful completion of American Sign Language courses at the institution toward satisfaction of its foreign language course credit requirements.

2011, c. 762, § 23-9.2:3.9; 2016, c. 588; 2017, c. 292.

§ 23.1-905.1. Course credit; dual enrollment courses.

A. The Council, in consultation with each public institution of higher education, shall establish a policy for granting undergraduate course credit to any entering student who has successfully completed a dual enrollment course. The policy shall:

1. Outline the conditions necessary for each public institution of higher education to grant course credit for the successful completion of a dual enrollment course;

2. Identify whether each dual enrollment course offered in the Commonwealth is transferrable to a public institution of higher education as (i) a Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program or Passport Program course credit, (ii) a general elective course credit, or (iii) a course credit meeting other academic requirements of a public institution of higher education, or if such course is not likely to transfer for course credit. The policy shall also require that each school division and comprehensive community college offering a dual enrollment course clearly specify such transfer information on any website, literature, or other materials describing or advertising the course;

3. Require each public institution of higher education offering a dual enrollment course to identify the equivalent non-dual enrollment course;

4. Ensure that the grant of course credit is consistent across each public institution of higher education and each such dual enrollment course; and

5. Require that the following information be made available on the online portal maintained by the System pursuant to subsection C of § 23.1-908: (i) a description of each dual enrollment course offered in the Commonwealth; (ii) the specific academic, career, or technical programs in the System that will accept the course credit and which specific comprehensive community colleges offer such programs; and (iii) if available, the pathway maps in which the dual enrollment course is included.

B. The Council and each public institution of higher education shall make the policy available to the public on their websites. The Council shall also forward the policy to the System for inclusion in the online portal maintained by the System pursuant to § 23.1-908.

C. The Council shall annually report to the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health on the implementation of the course credit policy by each public institution of higher education.

2017, cc. 309, 316; 2018, cc. 832, 845.

§ 23.1-906. Course credit; Advanced Placement, Cambridge Advanced, College-Level Examination Program, and International Baccalaureate examinations.

A. The Council, in consultation with the governing board of each public institution of higher education, shall establish a policy for granting undergraduate course credit to entering freshman students who have taken one or more Advanced Placement, Cambridge Advanced (A/AS), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), or International Baccalaureate examinations. The policy shall:

1. Outline the conditions necessary for each public institution of higher education to grant course credit, including the minimum required scores on such examinations;

2. Identify the course credit or other academic requirements of each public institution of higher education that the student satisfies by achieving the minimum required scores on such examinations; and

3. Ensure, to the extent possible, that the grant of course credit is consistent across each public institution of higher education and each such examination.

B. The Council and each public institution of higher education shall make the policy available to the public on its website.

2015, c. 578, § 23-9.2:3.10; 2016, c. 588.

Article 4. Articulation, Transfer, and Dual Enrollment.

§ 23.1-907. Articulation, dual admissions, and guaranteed admissions agreements; admission of certain comprehensive community college graduates.

A. The board of visitors of each baccalaureate public institution of higher education shall develop, consistent with Council guidelines and the institution's six-year plan as set forth in § 23.1-306, articulation, dual admissions, and guaranteed admissions agreements with each associate-degree-granting public institution of higher education. Such guaranteed admissions agreements may provide for the guaranteed admission of a student who earns an associate degree concurrently with a high school diploma through a dual enrollment program, in addition to any guaranteed admission for a student who earns an associate degree post-high school.

B. The System, in cooperation with the Council and each public institution of higher education, and consistent with the guidelines developed pursuant to subdivision 20 of § 23.1-203, shall establish a one-semester Passport Program and a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program. The Passport Program shall consist of 15 course credit hours and shall be a component of the 30-credit-hour Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program. Each Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program and Passport Program course shall be transferable and shall satisfy a lower division general education requirement at any public institution of higher education. The Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program and Passport Program shall be available at each comprehensive community college and through the Online Virginia Network.

C. The Council shall establish procedures under which a baccalaureate public institution of higher education may seek a waiver from the Council from accepting the transfer of a Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program or Passport Program course to satisfy the requirements for the completion of a specific pathway or degree. A waiver shall not be granted allowing a baccalaureate public institution to (i) generally reject the transfer of all coursework that is a part of the Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program or Passport Program or (ii) generally reject the transfer of a course from the Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program or Passport Program for all pathway maps and degrees. An application for a waiver shall identify with particularity the course for which the institution is seeking a waiver and the particular pathway or degree to which the waiver would apply. The application shall provide justification for the waiver and shall designate alternative courses offered through the System that may be completed by a student in order to complete a transferable, 30-credit-hour Uniform Certificate or 15-credit-hour Passport. The Council shall adopt guidelines regarding the criteria to be used to review and issue decisions regarding waiver requests. Such waiver requests shall only be granted if the baccalaureate public institution of higher education provides evidence that the specified pathway or degree requires a specialized, lower division course not available through the System. Once approved, notice of a waiver granted by the Council shall be included in the online portal established pursuant to § 23.1-908.

D. The Council shall develop guidelines for associate-degree-granting and baccalaureate public institutions of higher education to use in mapping pathways for the completion of credits in particular programs of study, including the courses recommended to be taken in a dual enrollment, comprehensive community college, and baccalaureate public institution setting in order to pursue a specific degree or career. Such guidelines shall define the elements of a pathway map and identify the pathway maps to be developed. Initial guidelines adopted for mapping such pathways shall establish a multiyear schedule for the development and implementation of pathway maps for all fields of study.

E. Each baccalaureate public institution of higher education, in cooperation and consultation with the System, shall develop pathway maps consistent with the guidelines established pursuant to subsection D. Such pathways maps shall clearly set forth the courses that a student at a comprehensive community college is encouraged to complete prior to transferring to the baccalaureate institution. The goal of the career education pathway maps shall be to assist students in achieving optimal efficiencies in the time and cost of completing a degree program. Such program map shall also clearly identify the courses, if any, for which the baccalaureate institution has received a waiver from transfer pursuant to subsection C.

F. The Council shall prepare a comprehensive annual report on the effectiveness of transferring from comprehensive community colleges to baccalaureate public institutions of higher education, including a review of the effectiveness of the use of pathway maps in achieving efficiencies and cost savings in the completion of a degree program. The report shall include the following elements: completion rates, average time to degree, credit accumulation, post-transfer student academic performance, and comparative efficiency. The Council shall adopt guidelines for data submission from public institutions of higher education necessary for such report, and all institutions shall report such data in accordance with the guidelines. The report shall be made publicly available on the Council website and on the online portal maintained pursuant to § 23.1-908.

G. Each comprehensive community college shall develop agreements for postsecondary attainment with the public high schools in the school divisions that such comprehensive community college serves specifying the options for students to complete an associate degree, the Passport Program, or the Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program concurrent with a high school diploma. Such agreements shall specify the credit available for dual enrollment courses and Advanced Placement courses with qualifying exam scores of three or higher.

H. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any public institution of higher education established pursuant to Chapter 25 (§ 23.1-2500 et seq.).

2005, c. 818, § 23-9.2:3.02; 2006, cc. 379, 531; 2007, c. 46; 2011, cc. 828, 869; 2012, cc. 142, 794; 2014, c. 628; 2016, c. 588; 2017, c. 521; 2018, cc. 593, 832, 845.

§ 23.1-908. State Transfer Tool.

A. The Council shall develop, in cooperation with the System and each public institution of higher education, a State Transfer Tool that designates each general education course, in addition to the courses that comprise the Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program and the Passport Program, that is offered in an associate degree program at an associate-degree-granting public institution of higher education and transferable for course credit to a baccalaureate public institution of higher education. In developing the State Transfer Tool, the Council shall also seek the participation of private institutions of higher education.

B. The Council shall develop guidelines to govern the development and implementation of articulation, dual admissions, and guaranteed admissions agreements between associate-degree-granting public institutions of higher education and baccalaureate public institutions of higher education. Dual admissions agreements shall set forth (i) the obligations of each student accepted to such a program, including grade point average requirements, acceptable associate degree majors, and completion timetables, and (ii) the extent to which each student accepted to such a program may access the privileges of enrollment at both institutions while he is enrolled at either institution. Such agreements are subject to the admissions requirements of the baccalaureate public institutions of higher education.

C. Each baccalaureate public institution of higher education shall update its transfer agreements immediately following any program modifications and shall send a copy of its updated agreement and any other transfer-related documents and resources to the System. The Council shall also send to the System a copy of any transfer-related guidelines and resources that it possesses. The System shall maintain an online portal that allows access to all such agreements, documents, and resources. The online portal shall also include (i) documents and resources related to course equivalency, (ii) pathway maps established pursuant to subsection E of § 23.1-907, (iii) the transfer tool established pursuant to subsection A, (iv) information regarding dual enrollment courses as described in § 23.1-905.1, and (v) any other information required to be included by law or deemed relevant by the System. The online portal shall be available to the public on the websites of the Council, the System, each public institution of higher education, and each school division offering a dual enrollment course.

2004, c. 553, § 23-9.14:2; 2005, c. 818; 2006, c. 379; 2014, c. 628; 2016, c. 588; 2017, c. 521; 2018, cc. 832, 845.

§ 23.1-909. Combined cooperative degree program.

A. The Secretary of Education and the director of the Council, in consultation with each public institution of higher education and nonprofit private institution of higher education, shall develop a plan to establish and advertise a cooperative degree program whereby any undergraduate student enrolled at any public institution of higher education or nonprofit private institution of higher education may complete, through the use of online courses at any such institution, the course credit requirements to receive a degree at a tuition cost not to exceed $4,000, or the lowest cost that is achievable, per academic year.

B. No later than October 1, 2016, the Secretary of Education and the director of the Council shall report to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Education, the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, and the Senate Committee on Education and Health on the progress made toward developing a cooperative degree program plan pursuant to this section.

2015, c. 664, § 23-7.4:7; 2016, c. 588.