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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does SCHEV stand for?
    “SCHEV” stands for State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. This State Council grants certificates of operation to institutions of higher education in Virginia. VIU IS STILL CERTIFIED TO OPERATE in Virginia by SCHEV.
  2. What is VIU’s relationship to SCHEV?
    Certain private or out-of-state postsecondary institutions of higher education offering degrees or certificates in the Commonwealth of Virginia are required to be certified to operate by SCHEV.
    More information on SCHEV can be found here: http://www.schev.edu/index/agency-info/agency-overview.
  3. Why did VIU meet with SCHEV on March 18-19, 2019?
    In August 2018, the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) conducted a routine review of VIU, as occurs with other similar institutions in the Commonwealth on a periodic basis. Following new SCHEV procedures, the March 18-19, 2019 meeting discussed the audit report and its findings with the wider Council.

    At the March 18-19, 2019, SCHEV met and approved VIU’s audit report completed by SCHEV staff. The approval of the audit findings then initiated a formal process whereby SCHEV will work with VIU to ensure compliance with all state regulations. VIU was offered the opportunity to meet with SCHEV staff for an informal fact-finding meeting in late May, 2019 (more details below!).

    VIU actively worked with legal counsel to ensure compliance with all state laws and regulations. Prior to the March 18-19 meeting, VIU submitted a response to the findings, and continued to work to address issues identified in their audit report. This process did not affect the continued operations of the university.

  4. What happened during the May 29th meeting with SCHEV staff?
    On Wednesday May 29th, VIU representatives met with SCHEV officials in Richmond for the informal fact-finding meeting, following up on the earlier spring Council meeting. While no official results came from this initial meeting with the SCHEV officials, the VIU representatives and legal counsel who attended conveyed that they felt that the meeting was productive and indicative of SCHEV’s willingness to work with VIU to address the findings found from the audit. From the discussions with SCHEV officials, we do not expect our certification to be revoked, which is wonderful news for the University!

    Though official communication is still yet to come from SCHEV, VIU commits to being open and transparent as we receive more information. Updates will be posted on this page as it becomes available.

  5. What did VIU and SCHEV agree to following the May 2019 meeting? And, where are we now?
    Following the informal fact-finding meeting in May, SCHEV Staff and VIU Officials came to an agreement that was favorable for VIU. This agreement recognizes the incredible work that our entire learning community have put forth to address the findings in the audit, as well as to continue to elevate the quality of our education. The following summarizes the major portions of the agreement between VIU and SCHEV:

    1. VIU will continue to ensure compliance with all SCHEV requirements;
    2. VIU will hold its classes in a strictly face-to-face modality for a minimum of three years;
    3. SCHEV will conduct a follow-up audit of VIU’s operations, with specific attention to those areas highlighted in the original audit report.

    Furthermore, SCHEV indicated a continued willingness to work with VIU in the future to ensure compliance.

    VIU has been actively working on plans to help our current online students to find options for continuing their education. More information on this will follow from Academic Affairs to those affected students. Students are also welcome to contact their program or department chair to discuss potential options.

    We welcome the decision and are looking forward to continuing our collective hard work towards compliance. While we have continued hard work ahead of us, this decision effectively ensures that VIU will continue to live out its mission to provide a high quality education.

  6. What is VIU doing to ensure compliance?
    VIU continues to strive to improve its educational offerings and operations. As such, we take the audit findings very seriously and have been working, and will continue to work to address them. Our strategies for addressing the findings are multifaceted and comprehensive, and we recognize that this is a campus effort, and we expect that our entire learning community will be involved in ensuring the quality of our education.

    At VIU, we take the quality and integrity of our education very seriously. We have already begun our efforts to address the areas for improvement that SCHEV has highlighted; we are confident in our success, and we look forward to the growth and advancement that the process will engender.

  7. What is certification and why does VIU need it?
    SCHEV requires that certain institutions operating in the Commonwealth be certified to operate in accordance with state laws. VIU continues to maintain its certification to operate from SCHEV.
  8. Is VIU accredited?
    YES! VIU is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools (ACICS).
  9. What is accreditation and why does VIU need it?
    Accreditation is a quality standard that institutions strive to provide to students to ensure that their degree is valuable. VIU needs accreditation in order to be transparent and show that the education that students receive at our university is of a certain caliber. According to the US Department of Education (n.d, a), accreditation’s goal is to “ensure that education provided by institutions and/or programs of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions and/or programs that request an agency’s evaluation and that meet an agency’s criteria are then ‘accredited’ by that agency.” According to the U.S. Department of Education (n.d., b), accreditation in the United States serves to do the following:

    1. Assess the quality of academic programs at institutions of higher education
    2. Create a culture of continuous improvement of academic quality at colleges and universities and stimulate a general raising of standards among educational institutions
    3. Involve faculty and staff comprehensively in institutional evaluation and planning
    4. Establish criteria for professional certification and licensure and for upgrading courses offering such preparation

    The US Department of Education includes a useful overview of accreditation and recognized accreditors here: https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html?src=more

  10. How does accreditation affect my degree?
    All degrees that have been awarded will continue to be valid and honored. A degree status is based on the recognition of the accrediting agency at the time that the degree was awarded.
  11. How does the SCHEV decision affect VIU’s current accreditation?
    Following SCHEV’s decision from March 2019, ACICS issued a show cause directive for VIU requesting additional information on communications and requirements set forth by SCHEV and VIU’s continued compliance with these requirements. Therefore, please be advised that ACICS has a pending show cause directive against VIU pursuant to Section 1-2-100(b) of the Accreditation Criteria.
  12. How does the status with SCHEV affect my student visa status and/or OPT status?
    VIU is currently certified to operate in Virginia by SCHEV, and is accredited by ACICS. As such, VIU is actively issuing I-20s, and current students/students on OPT are able to maintain their status provided that they continue to meet the eligibility requirements (see the International Student Services Office for details: https://www.viu.edu/student-life/iss-office/).

    All questions regarding international students statuses (for example: OPT, I-20s, etc.) will need to be directed to the ISS Office (dso@viu.edu), as they are the only individuals who are qualified and able to answer your questions about your specific situations.

References

U.S. Department of Education (n.d.). Accreditation in the United States. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg2.html.

U.S. Department of Education (n.d.). Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Retrieved from https://ope.ed.gov/dapip/#/home

Additional Resources

Recognized Accrediting Agencies: https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg5.html#NationallyRecognized

If you still have questions, please send them to qa@viu.edu. In case you would like to send us your comments/suggestions, please fill out the suggestion form.