The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) approves enrollment projections and degree estimates from public and private SCHEV-coordinated institutions on a biennial basis, coinciding with the state budget cycle. This duty is assigned to SCHEV by §23.1-203.4 (public institutions) and §23.1-304.C (private institutions) of the Code of Virginia.
Institutions are asked to submit their most recent fall headcount enrollment and estimated annual FTE and completions for the collection year. They then project enrollment, FTE and completions for the next six fiscal years. These reports are reviewed by SCHEV staff and recommended for approved by Council vote. This vote approves the projections on an individual institution basis and as a whole.
Once approved, the projections are used by the Commonwealth for budgetary and fiscal planning purposes. For example, knowing the expected enrollment trend over the next six years at a public institution is useful in forecasting future demand for faculty and classrooms and whether additional state funding will be needed to support that demand. The projections are also used in determining how much money needs to be set aside for financial aid programs such as the Tuition Assistance Grant. Since 2005, the enrollment projections for in-state students and estimates of degree awards have also been used as part of the Institutional Performance Standards.
The documents below from the October 2023 Council meeting may be of help and use in understanding staff's perspective on these projections.