The Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005 (Restructuring Act) provided public colleges and universities with more operational and administrative autonomy in exchange for a renewed commitment to their public missions. As a result of this Act, public institutions were required to develop Six-Year Plans and Institutional Performance Standards were established. Three levels of institutional authority were also established. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 (HEOA) reaffirmed institutional Six-Year Plans and provided for the modification of the Institutional Performance Standards (IPS).
Levels of Authority
Institutions are classified into one of three levels of financial and administrative operational authority. All institutions enter Level I authority as a result of the Boards of Visitors resolution in 2005. Level I institutions receive minimum operational authority.
Level II criteria were established by the 2008 General Assembly. Level II institutions can receive additional authority in three areas – capital outlay, information technology, and procurement. Institutions enter Level II through a “memorandum of understanding” with the Governor and, respective cabinet Secretaries. Memoranda of understanding were signed with George Mason University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Community College System in 2009, Longwood University in 2010, Christopher Newport University in 2011, and University of Mary Washington in 2013.
The highest level of financial and administrative operational authority is granted to a select group of institutions through a “management agreement” between the institution’s Board of Visitors, the Governor, and the General Assembly. Level III institutions have operational authority in the areas of capital outlay, information technology, procurement, human resources, and finance. The College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech signed management agreements in 2005 which were approved by the 2006 General Assembly. Virginia Commonwealth University’s management agreement was approved by the 2008 General Assembly.