News from SCHEV | Feb 2022

schev logo

To learn more about SCHEV, go to https://shev.edu.

RICHMOND — The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) released three reports. They include a report on the 2021 workforce Credential Grants, a playbook for addressing unmet demand, and the annual report of the Office of the Qualified Loan Ombudsman. In addition, SCHEV released an Insight post on federal stimulus funds in Virginia.

Workforce Credential Grant Report:

In FY 2021, the Virginia Community College System and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center offered training aligned to high-demand occupations and fields as identified by the Virginia Board for Workforce Development. Collectively in 2021, these institutions reported 8,904 enrollments, a 19% increase from FY 2020 and the most since the inception of the program in 2016. Of the 8,904 enrollments included in this report, 8,591 (96%) completed training. Among program completers, 6,151 (72%) went on to earn the credential.

Addressing Unmet Demand:

A Replicable Playbook And Asset Map: This report provides a replicable playbook and asset map that serves as a “how-to” guide for other regions and states to identify occupational shortages (also known as “unmet demand”) and implement successful efforts for addressing them. While the playbook is not solely solution-focused, it does raise topics that regions and states should consider when addressing unmet demand through postsecondary education programs. The topic of unmet demand is complex and important as the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified short-term and long-term occupational shortages. 

Office of the Qualified Education Loan Ombudsman Annual Report:

The report highlights key activities for 2021, including: a profile of the more than 400 education loan borrowers assisted by the office in its first three years and the types of challenges they face; outreach efforts; collaborative work with other states to secure relief for borrowers with loans not covered through the recent federal CARES act; a list of federal policy recommendations to address issues experienced by Virginia borrowers; the creation of an online education course; and work with other federal and state advocates to prepare Virginia borrowers for the restart of loan payments in May 2022. 

Federal Stimulus Funds Insights:

This post provides an overview of various federal stimulus funding initiatives provided to Virginia higher education over the past two years. This included three pieces of legislation designed to address the economic and public health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the stimulus bills provided a windfall for Virginia higher education, these are one-time funds and so are unable to be used for recurring expenses, such as faculty pay or financial aid renewals. When spread over the four years that the institutions have to spend the money, the stimulus funding for public institutions equates to less than 5% of the state's public higher education annual budget.

The full reports and all SCHEV reports are available at schev.edu/reports.