State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

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New School Certification

In order to enroll students, use the term "college" or "university," or confer a degree or certificate, any person, organization, or other entity must obtain a Certificate to Operate from the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) for Virginia. To apply for a Certificate to Operate, one must:

  1. Attend a New School Orientation Session.
  2. Submit an Intent to Operate a Postsecondary School form and wait to receive an approval from SCHEV
  3. Submit a complete certification application package with all required documents.
  4. Submit all required fees.
  5. Undergo a site visit at the Virginia location from which instruction will be offered or the administrative functions of the school will take place.

New School Orientation

Participation in a New School Orientation session is the first step and an important part of the application process for entities seeking certification to operate a postsecondary institution in Virginia. Sessions are scheduled every six weeks (see side bar for session dates and registration form). 

To register for an orientation session, please complete the New School Orientation form and return it with a nonrefundable fee of $150 per participant. Certification applications received from persons not attending the New School Orientation will be returned.

NOTE:  The school may not advertise, recruit students, accept any fees or tuition monies, or hold classes until it has received its Certificate to Operate from SCHEV.

Schedule & General Information for New School Orientation

The school owner or representative MUST attend a New School Orientation session and be certified to operate a school before providing postsecondary instruction in Virginia. Scroll up to the top right side to view the New School Orientation schedule. Participants must choose between morning orientation sessions for individuals hoping to open a vocational/career-technical school, or afternoon sessions designed for those who intend to open a degree-granting institution in the Commonwealth.

Each institution is required to have one participant (preferably a compliance officer or the person responsible for preparing the certification application) attend the orientation. At the institution’s discretion, an observer may accompany the participant to the orientation. Please note that the observers will not be able to actively participate in discussions nor the question and answer segment of the training. However, all observers are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $150 to attend.  All sessions will be held at 101 N. 14th Street, 9th Floor, James Monroe Building, Richmond, Virginia. If you have any questions, contact Sandra Freeman at 804-225-3862.

Registration Form

The non-refundable fee and registration form are due no later than one month in advance of the scheduled session. Please submit your registration as soon as possible, seating is limited and done on a first-come, first-served basis. Meeting the one month submission deadline will not always guarantee a spot at the orientation session, should that be the case, you will be notified accordingly and your registration will be rescheduled. 

Registration Fee

There is a non-refundable fee of $150 per participant and observer (CASH AND PERSONAL CHECKS NOT ACCEPTED) to attend the orientation session. Your fee must accompany your registration form.

Email Confirmation & Parking Information

An email confirming your attendance will be sent upon receipt of your registration form and reminder email will be sent out ten (10) days prior to the scheduled session. If you provided your vehicle identification information to us, a parking permit will be mailed to you a week in advance of the scheduled session.


In the event of an emergency, you may cancel your registration or another school representative may attend in your place. You must notify us three (3) business days prior to the scheduled session.

All sessions will be held in the SCHEV 9th Floor Conference Room, 101 N. 14th Street, 9th Floor, James Monroe Building, Richmond, VA. If you have any questions, contact Sandra Freeman at 804-225-3862.

Forms for new school certification

Orientation Schedule

Orientation sessions for vocational/career-technical schools will be held at 09:30 am in the SCHEV 9th floor conference room. Orientation sessions for degree-granting institutions will be held at 1:00 pm in the SCHEV 9th floor conference room. If you have any questions, please contact Sandra Freeman at 804-225-3862.

2018 Schedule
Tues. October 2   
Tues. November 13   
2019 Schedule  
Tues. January 29   
Tues. March 12   
Tues. April 23   
Tues. June 4   
Tues. July 16   
Tues. August 27  
Tues. October 08  
Tues. November 19   

Orientation Form PDF formatOrientation Registration Form

2018 Orientation Schedule Memo

© 2017 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
101 N. 14th Street, 10th Floor  |  James Monroe Building   |  Richmond, VA 23219

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