Open a School in Virginia

In order to enroll students or confer degrees or certificates, an entity must either obtain an exemption or certification to operate in Virginia from SCHEV.

Participation in a New School Orientation session is the first step in the Business people in a conference roomapplication process for entities seeking certification to operate a postsecondary school in Virginia. Virtual orientation sessions are scheduled every six weeks.

To register for an online orientation session, please visit our Event Registration page. From there, users will be able to register for upcoming events and pay the orientation fee of $150 per participant. This is a nonrefundable fee. 

Certification applications received from persons not attending the New School Orientation will be returned.

SCHEV requires school owners and administrators to demonstrate through their certification application that they understand the requirements of Virginia law and regulation. Specifically, SCHEV expects applicants to submit original materials that reflect their school’s vision and mission, using ideas and words specific to the Virginia campus.

In accordance with § 23.1-221 of the Code of Virginia, SCHEV may deny certification to any applicant that submits “false or misleading information to the Council.” Therefore, plagiarism and/or use of language from outside sources, including computer-generated content or language created by artificial intelligence (AI) tools could result in the denial of a school’s application.

NOTE:  A 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.

Who Should Attend New School Orientation?

Any proprietary or non-profit entity maintaining a physical presence in Virginia that provides education or training in exchange for tuition or a fee is required to have one participant attend New School Orientation.

Each registrant (such as the president, school owner, compliance officer, or senior administrator) must pay a non-refundable fee to register for New School Orientation. At the school's discretion, a third-party observer or consultant may register for the same orientation session, in addition to the school representative. Such individuals are also required to pay a non-refundable fee of $150. 

Schedule & General Information for New School Orientation

View the New School Orientation schedule at right. Participants must choose between morning orientation sessions for individuals hoping to open a vocational school, or afternoon sessions designed for those who intend to open a degree-granting institution in the Commonwealth. 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. 

If you have any questions, contact


Participants must register and pay the fee no later than one week before the scheduled session. Registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Registration Fee

There is a non-refundable fee of $150 per person to attend the online orientation session. You will pay at the time of registration. Credit card payments are accepted.


In the event of an emergency, you may cancel your registration or another school representative may attend in your place. Please notify SCHEV prior to the scheduled session.