A. Each public institution of higher education shall establish an appeals process for those students who are aggrieved by decisions regarding eligibility for in-state or reduced tuition charges pursuant to §§ 23-7.4 and 23-7.4:2. The Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) shall not apply to these administrative reviews.An initial determination shall be made. Each appeals process shall include an intermediate review of the initial determination and a final administrative review. The final administrative decision shall be in writing. A copy of this decision shall be sent to the student. Either the intermediate review or the final administrative review shall be conducted by an appeals committee consisting of an odd number of members. No person who serves at one level of this appeals process shall be eligible to serve at any other level of this review. All such due process procedures shall be in writing and shall include time limitations in order to provide for orderly and timely resolutions of all disputes.Any party aggrieved by a final administrative decision shall have the right to review in the circuit court for the jurisdiction in which the relevant institution is located. A petition for review of the final administrative decision shall be filed within thirty days of receiving the written decision. In any such action, the institution shall forward the record to the court, whose function shall be only to determine whether the decision reached by the institution could reasonably be said, on the basis of the record, not to be arbitrary, capricious or otherwise contrary to law.
B. To ensure the application of uniform criteria in administering this section and determining eligibility for in-state tuition charges, the State Council of Higher Education shall issue and from time to time revise guidelines, including domiciliary status questions to be incorporated by all state institutions of higher education in their admissions applications. These guidelines shall not be subject to the Administrative Process Act.An advisory committee, composed of at least ten representatives of institutions of higher education, shall be appointed by the Council each year to cooperate with the Council in developing the guidelines for determining eligibility or revisions thereof. The Council shall consult with the Office of the Attorney General and provide opportunity for public comment prior to issuing any such guidelines.
1996, cc. 931, 981.