In service to its mission to ensure legal operations, ethical practices and quality education in the private postsecondary sector, PPE certifies more than 200 vocational schools and higher education institutions to operate in Virginia.
Certified Private Schools
Certification by SCHEV is mandatory for non-exempt institutions to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to the Code of Virginia (§ 23.1-217). This means that most postsecondary schools must obtain certification to operate before advertising, enrolling students or engaging in any activities related to postsecondary education in Virginia. Those schools must also be accredited in order to offer federal financial aid to students.
Private Schools Exempt from Certification
Some private postsecondary schools are not required to obtain SCHEV certification. Pursuant to 23.1-226(C) of the Code of Virginia, PPE grants religious exemptions for schools whose primary purpose is to provide theological education.
Other private institutions are no longer required to certify in accordance with §23.1-219(D) of the Code of Virginia, if they have maintained their main campus continuously in the Commonwealth for at least 20 years and are accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Such schools maintain a scope of the institutional autonomy that includes the ability to enroll students in courses or programs for degree credit, award degrees, and initiate programs for degree credit at additional levels, among others.