Forbes Names VA Top State to do Business

Forbes.com has named Virginia as the best state to do business for a fourth straight year. Full Story
J Bellenot

Alexandria, VA

#1 Sep 25, 2009
Virginia may be the “Best State for Business” in regard to large companies and corporations, but when it comes to small, job-training schools, Virginia, particularly the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), is about as welcoming as a giant python.
The following quote is from a July 10 New York Times article on Yoga Teacher trainings and state regulation ( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/11/nyregion/11... ). It is good example of what SCHEV (State Council of Higher Education for Virginia) wants (and has been getting) from small and even tiny proprietary schools:

"The conflict started in January when a Virginia [SCHEV] official directed regulators from more than a dozen states to an online national registry of schools that teach yoga and, in the words of a Kansas official, earn a 'handsome income.’“


SCHEV regulators have been grabbing for money from small schools in any way they can without any regard for what is appropriate and fair. SCHEV currently requires that any proprietary school that provides job skill certification training that grosses anywhere from $1 (that's one dollar) to $50,000.00 per year pay an annual "fee" of $500. This means that any training school or program has to pay SCHEV at least $500 every year, even if it grosses only $400. In addition, schools have to pay for a surety bond and they have to complete financial forms that probably require the help of an accountant--an additional expense. This is an undue hardship on a number of small and tiny schools and programs.(When SCHEV first took over supervision of proprietary schools a few years ago they imposed an exorbitant rate hike on small schools-- a $1500 annual "fee." It was only through external pressure that SCHEV eventually reduced the fee to $500 for schools grossing $50,000 or less each year.)


At the other end of the spectrum, schools that make a lot of money do very well when it comes to the annual recertification "fees." The fee for a school that grosses anywhere over $150,000 is $2500. So if a school grosses fifteen million dollars annually, it only has to pay $2500 annually. So rich schools, in effect, get a huge discount and pay a nominal fee, while very small schools have to pay a much higher percentage of their gross income. See page 28 at http://www.schev.edu/AdminFaculty/iApproval/f... 

.
SCHEV has an extensive list of regulations and required paperwork that is mostly based on a one-size, one-kind fits all type of policy intended for large schools--colleges and universities. A number of these requirements and forms make little sense and are an undue burden for small and tiny schools. In 2007, SCHEV conducted on-site audits of 31 proprietary schools, including schools against which there had been no complaints, and claimed that schools had committed 177 violations of these regulations. They charged the schools a $1000 “administrative fee” for each violation--a profit of $177,000.00. See http://www.schev.edu/SCHEV/AgendaBooks/2008Ja... on pages 20 and 21.


The SCHEV fees these schools pay are in addition to the federal and state income taxes and business license taxes that they are already paying.

In order to make money,
Virginia is squeezing whatever it can out of well-intentioned and responsible small proprietary schools and programs--to the point of damaging them--rather than protecting consumers and students.

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