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Update from January Council Meeting

by Tod Massa 13. January 2017 23:44

The Council approved the schedule below for the enrollment projections and degree estimates. Members also endorsed the use of the new streamlined template, which we will send out shortly. I also provided an update on the fall enrollment of the four-year public institutions as we were still missing one private college, and a number of community colleges.

Background:  At Council’s October 26, 2015, meetings, the Council approved the enrollment projections for the 2015 cycle representing projections from 2015 through 2021-22.  The round of enrollment projections and degree estimates produced in 2017 will extend through academic year 2023-24. These projections are an early indicator of determining the likelihood that Commonwealth’s goal of becoming the best-educated state in nation by 2030. These projections also serve as a key component of the public institutions’ six-year plans, with the other components being both the academic and financial plans, and set the known supply of likely seats for the next six years. Below are the excerpts from the Code of Virginia regarding the Council duties and authorities pertaining to enrollment projections and degree estimates:


4. Review and approve or disapprove all enrollment projections proposed by each public institution of higher education. The Council's projections shall be in numerical terms by level of enrollment and shall be used for budgetary and fiscal planning purposes only. The Council shall develop estimates of the number of degrees to be awarded by each institution and include those estimates in its reports of enrollment projections. The student admissions policies for the institutions and their specific programs shall remain the sole responsibility of the individual boards of visitors; however, all four-year institutions shall adopt dual admissions policies with the community colleges, as required by § 23-9.2:3.02.


C. In order 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 private nonprofit institutions of higher education pursuant to the Tuition Assistance Grant Act (§ 23-38.11 et seq.), each private nonprofit 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 the private institutions and their specific programs shall remain the sole responsibility of the governing boards of the individual institutions.

The authority of the Council is limited to approval or disapproval of these enrollment projections and degree estimates as tools for budgetary and fiscal planning purposes only. Projections also are a component of the performance standards used for institutional certification. 

Enrollment projections and degree estimates serve as a statement of intent to offer higher education opportunities to students. Their accuracy is influenced by many factors, such as the selectivity of the institution and economic conditions. While they reflect intent, they are based on past behavior of students in an evolving market. Further, the entering student cohort of first-time in college, particularly those coming directly from high school, is the most stable group. All other groups may have wide ranges of variance (with the exception of first-professional programs which are generally much smaller in comparison and much more restricted to entry). 

It is in this context, and sensitivity to the increasing burdens on the institutional research functions within institutions, that staff has worked to streamline the submission process of the enrollment projections for 2017. Historically, the SCHEV-2B has been a highly detailed collection of painstaking tables requiring hours of staff time to complete and review – exclusive of time spent in preparing the institution’s projections themselves. Further, over the last decade additional requirements have been added, such as the degree estimates, the projection of new student enrollment by level and the long-term estimates. 

After hearing concerns of institutional staff and looking at our use of the data, SCHEV staff worked with representatives from public and private institutions to create a modified template. This new template reduces the overall enrollment detail from 32 separate tables to eight. Staff has eliminated some of the campus-based data that have fallen into disuse and replaced some of the detail with ratios. Overall, staff will be able to reproduce about 90% of the data previously collected with much less effort.


Timetable for Further Review/Action:  Institutional targets should be available for preliminary review by Council by the July meeting. Council approval of the enrollment projections and degree estimates is anticipated at the October 2017 meeting. 



BE IT RESOLVED that the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia directs staff to collaborate with institutions to produce a package of enrollment projections and degree estimates that informs the Council on its ability to meet the Commonwealth’s goal of “becoming the best educated state in the nation by 2030”; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the enrollment projection and degree estimate process shall follow the schedule below as closely as possible:

1.Kickoff Webinar – February 9th

2.Optional Training Webinars February 13th – 24th

3.Submission Due Dates:

a.Public Institutions – May 1st 

b.Private Institutions – May 1st   

4.Staff Update – May Council Meeting

5.Staff Update – July Council Meeting

6.Meetings with Institutions (as part of six-year plan review) – Summer 

7.Council Review – September Council Meeting

8.Council Action – October Council Meeting





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