State goals require in-state enrollment uptick
University must enroll additional 1,673 undergraduates by 2018
In-state enrollment must increase by nearly 42,000 within seven years in Virginia’s public and private colleges to meet the commonwealth’s higher-education goals, according to a report by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
The Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, which sought to promote higher education and economic growth, outlined a goal of 100,000 additional undergraduate degrees earned in Virginia by 2025.
For the University, this means enrolling an additional 1,673 undergraduate students by the 2018-2019 academic year, an 11.9 percent increase from 2010-2011, University spokesperson McGregor McCance said in an email. Of these additional students, 1,171 would hail from inside Virginia’s borders.
Additional students must be followed by additional funding from the General Assembly, McCance said.
“The Board’s growth commitment is contingent on the appropriate state support for that growth,” McCance said.
To date, the General Assembly has fully funded the state’s share of the growth. “We are optimistic that they will continue their commitment,” McCance said.
Most of Virginia’s in-state growth between 2001 and 2011 occurred at Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University and James Madison University. Together, these schools represent 67 percent of in-state enrollment among public four-year institutions.
Of private universities, Liberty University, Regent University, Shenandoah University, Ferrum College and Lynchburg University contributed an additional 11,885 students within the same time frame, and these schools account for 93 percent of total enrollment growth at private nonprofit institutions.
Six community colleges — Tidewater, Northern Virginia Community College, John Tyler Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College, Germanna Community College and Lord Fairfax Community College — enrolled an additional 37,141 students during the same period.
If the state reaches its goal of increased enrollment and degrees, by 2025 nearly 55 percent of Virginia’s working population will hold an associate’s degree or higher, compared to the 43 percent recorded in the 2010 census.