- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

RICHMOND (AP) — The number of in-state students attending Virginia’s public colleges is expected to increase 14 percent by 2013, according to enrollment projections by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

A report prepared for SCHEV shows that 425,206 in-state students are expected six years from now. Community colleges are expected to account for 195,868 of those students.

Virginia’s four-year colleges are planning for 19 percent growth during the same period, so it doesn’t look like access will be a problem, the report says. Community colleges are not required to set enrollment targets because they have open enrollment.

“This is the first time since I’ve been doing this that we’re not saying we won’t have enough space to meet demand,” said Tod R. Massa, the council’s policy-research and data-warehousing director. “We seem to be in pretty good shape.”

Mr. Massa, who has been with SCHEV for more than six years, said public colleges have done a good job of preparing to accommodate more students.

“What we’re seeing is appropriate targeted growth,” he said.

Last year, the four-year colleges enrolled slightly more students than had been projected while enrollment at two-year colleges fell nearly 9,000 short of expectations, according to the report. The difference in the community college numbers was attributed largely to data-collection errors that may have inflated the estimates. Also, more students than expected left community colleges to get jobs.

Mr. Massa was scheduled to present the report at SCHEV’s meeting yesterday, but the council ran out of time and postponed the presentation until next month.

The council’s projections are used to help develop the state budget for higher education. Projections aren’t made on out-of-state students because they don’t drive state higher-education funding.

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