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Contact: Daphne Borromeo
Voice: 408-271-2699
E-mail: dborromeo@highereducation.org

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

First Detailed Look at Virginia Higher Education
Restructuring Act Released

San Jose, CA— The first detailed account of the restructuring of Virginia's public higher education system was released today by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Checks and Balances at Work: The Restructuring of Virginia's Public Higher Education System provides a comprehensive look at the state's 2005 Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act.

"In all states, the need for their colleges and universities to be accountable for public policy goals has never been greater," says Patrick Callan, president of the National Center. "The Restructuring Act offers important lessons for political and educational policy leaders."

The report tracks the development of the legislation from its beginnings as a conflict over tuition-setting authority in the Commonwealth of Virginia to the resulting reconstruction of Virginia's public higher education. In addition, the study examines the national impact that the Restructuring Act will have on critical areas in higher education, such as tuition and financial aid.

In 2005, the Virginia General Assembly and Governor Mark Warner enacted legislation that made all of the state's public institutions eligible for increased autonomy over their daily operations. To qualify, each college and university had to pass a resolution agreeing to meet a series of performance goals that address state needs, such as access to postsecondary education, collaboration with K–12 education, increased student transfers between two- and four-year colleges, and more deliberate and strategic planning.

Research for Checks and Balances was conducted through a series of interviews that included college presidents and administrators, cabinet officers, legislative staff, state personnel, personnel with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, lawyers, national higher education experts, faculty members, and students.

The report was written by Lara K. Couturier, a consultant specializing in higher education policy. She currently serves as a consulting editor for Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.

Upon its release, the study will be available on the National Center's Web site, www.highereducation.org.

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The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not affiliated with any institution of higher education or with any government agency. The purpose of the National Center's studies and reports is to stimulate public policies that will improve the effectiveness and accessibility of higher education.


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© 2006 The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

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