Policy Analysis | May 2015

What are the governing entities for higher education in SLC member states?

SLC Member States' Higher Education Governing/Coordinating Agencies

from Online Database for Postsecondary Governance, Education Commission of the States (ECS)

Alabama The Alabama Commission on Higher Education, the statutory coordinating agency for public postsecondary education, was established in 1969. The Commission is composed of 12 members, 10 appointed by the governor and 1 each by the lieutenant governor and speaker of the house. All are subject to confirmation by the Senate. No more than 2 members can be from any one congressional district and each is charged with representing the state as a whole. Commissioners serve 9-year terms. The statutory authority of the Commission includes planning, coordination, budget review for individual institutions, recommendations of a consolidated budget and program review for the state's public senior and junior institutions. Program review involves new program approval authority for all public postsecondary institutions. The Commission has advisory authority relative to the review of existing programs. The commission also has approval authority for off-campus instruction and programs offered in the state by out-of-state institutions.

The State Board of Education is a constitutional entity with responsibility not only for K-12 but also for governing 1 upper-division college, 3 junior colleges, 18 community colleges and 7 technical colleges.

Arkansas The Arkansas Department of Higher Education, established in 1971, functions as a statutory cabinet department of the state government and is charged with the coordination of postsecondary education in Arkansas. The department administers the policies set by the Higher Education Coordinating Board, which replaced the State Board of Higher Education in 1997. Consisting of 12 members who are appointed to 6-year terms by the governor, the Higher Education Coordinating Board has statutory responsibility for the planning and coordination of public 4-and 2-year institutions. The Board also has statutory authority for budget review and recommendation, approval of institutions role and scope, and the review and approval of new or existing degree programs for public postsecondary institutions. The executive officer of the agency is appointed by the Higher Education Coordinating Board with substantial input from the Presidents Council and is confirmed and serves at the governor's pleasure.
Florida The chief governing body for public education in Florida is the State Board of Education, which has been in place since 1845. Effective January 2003, the State Board of Education will be replaced by a governor-appointed, 7-member Florida Board of Education.This change is the result of an amendment to the State Constitution adopted in 1998.

The current State Board has 7 members, each of whom serves in an ex-officio capacity by virtue of the elected office he or she holds: the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, state comptroller and commissioner of education. In July 2001, the appointed Florida Board of Education began operation. Beginning in 2003, this new board will appoint the commissioner of education. In the interim, a governor-appointed secretary of education is overseeing the transition process in cooperation with the elected commissioner of education and both the elected and appointed boards.

Legislation enacted in 2000 and 2001 has provided a framework for the implementation of this change. Effective July1, 2001, existing statewide boards and commissioners related to postsecondary education, including the State University System Board of Regents (established in 1965), the State Board of Community Colleges (1983), the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities (1974), the State Board of Non-Public Career Education (1974), and the Postsecondary Education Planning Commission (1980), were repealed and, in most cases, their duties transferred to the Florida Board of Education.

The staff of the Postsecondary Education Planning Commission was assigned to a newly authorized Council for Education Policy Research and Improvement, which is administratively housed in the Office of Legislative Services. The council consists of 5 members appointed by the governor and two members each appointed by the president of the senate and the speaker of the house and shall conduct long-range planning and independent policy research and analysis.

Georgia The University System of Georgia's Board of Regents was created in 1931 as a part of the reorganization of Georgia's state government. With this act, public postsecondary education in Georgia was unified for the first time under a single governing and management authority. The structure and the responsibility of the Board was made constitutional in 1943. The governor appoints members to the Board, with confirmation of the Senate, for staggered 7-year terms. The Board of Regents is composed of 18 members, 5 of whom are appointed from the state-at-large, and 1 from each of the 13 congressional districts. The Board has constitutional responsibility for planning and coordination, institutional budget review, including recommendations for a consolidated budget and program approval. The Board elects a chancellor who serves as its chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer of the University System. The Board oversees 35 institutions: 4 research universities, 2 regional universities, 13 state universities, 7 state colleges, and 9 2-year colleges.

In 1983, the governor established by executive order a State Board of Technical and Adult Education, which was made statutory in 1986. This 22-member board is appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate. All members represent business, industry or economic development and serve 5-year terms. The Board has statutory responsibility for leadership, management and operational control of 34 public postsecondary technical institutions.It is responsible for establishing standards, regulations and policies for the operation of the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education, the state's technical colleges, economic development programs, and adult literacy education programs.

Kentucky The Council on Postsecondary Education was established in May 1997 by a legislative act replacing the Council on Higher Education. The original council was established in 1934 and amended in structure and function in 1966, 1972, 1982, 1994 and 1996. The council is the statutory coordinating agency for Kentucky's state-supported universities, and the new Kentucky Community and Technical College System is comprised of 13 community colleges and 15 postsecondary vocational-technical schools. The 1997 reform legislation gave the Council on Postsecondary Education new membership and stronger coordinating powers. The council consists of 16 members appointed by the governor, including 13 citizen members, 1 faculty member and 1 student member, and the state's commissioner of education as a nonvoting ex-officio member by virtue of the elected office he or she holds. All appointed members may vote. Citizen members serve 6-year terms; faculty members serve 4 years and the student serves a 1-year term.

The restructured Council on Postsecondary Education has statutory authority to: develop and implement a strategic agenda for postsecondary education; revise and approve missions and plans for the state-supported universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System; ensure a system of accountability; protect against unnecessary duplication; establish standards for admission to state-supported institutions; determine tuition rates; approve, modify or eliminate academic programs; make biennial budget recommendations; approve capital construction projects over $400,000; and ensure the transfer of credits and develop a financial reporting system.

The state has a Secretary for the Education, Arts and Humanities Cabinet. The council, however, is an independent board reporting to the governor and is responsive to the legislature.

Louisiana The Board of Regents serves as the constitutional statewide coordinating and policymaking agency for public higher education. The board consists of 15 lay members appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate, and 1 student member elected by the student-body presidents. The 15 lay members represent the general public and serve overlapping 6-year terms of office. The student member serves a 1-year term. The board has both constitutional and statutory authority for planning and coordination for all public senior and junior institutions of higher education and responsibility for institutional budget review and recommending a consolidated budget. Proposed and existing degree programs are subject to board approval. The state does not have an office of secretary of education, and the agency is not a cabinet department. The executive officer of the board is appointed by and serves at the board's pleasure.
Mississippi The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, established in 1910 and reorganized in 1944, exercises constitutional governing authority over the 8 public institutions in the state. The Board consists of 12 members, who are appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate and who represent the general public. The members serve 12-year terms. The Board has statutory authority for planning and coordination, institutional budget review and consolidated budget recommendations, and program approval for the 8 senior public institutions in Mississippi. The state does not have an office of secretary of education, and the Board does not serve as a cabinet department. The executive officer of the Board is appointed by the Board and serves under a 4-year contract.

The State Board for Community and Junior Colleges (SBCJC) was established on July 1, 1986, and is comprised of 10 members who serve staggered, 6-year terms. The governor appoints the SBCJC members of which none may be an elected official and none may be engaged in the education profession. The governor is charged with appointing members from Mississippi's congressional districts with no 2 appointees residing in the same junior college district. The governor's appointees are made with the advice and consent of the state Senate. The SBCJC functions as a coordinating agency for the state's 15 public junior colleges responsible for: (a) authorizing disbursements of state appropriated funds to Community and Junior Colleges (CJCs) through orders in the minutes of the Board; (b) making studies of the needs of the state as they relate to the mission of the CJCs; (c) approving new, changes to and deletions of vocational and technical programs to the various colleges; (d) requiring CJCs to supply such information as the Board may request and compile, publish, and make available such reports based thereon as the Board may deem advisable; (e) approving proposed new attendance centers, as the local board shall determine to be in the best interest of the district; (f) serving as the state approving agency for federal funds for proposed contract to borrow money for various purposes; (g) approving application from CJC's for state funds for vocational-technical education facilities; (h) approving any university branch campus offering lower undergraduate level courses for credit; (i) appointing members to the Post-Secondary Education Assistance Board; (j) appointing members to the Authority for Educational Television; (k) contracting with other boards, commissions, government entities, foundations, corporations for individuals for programs, services grants and awards when such are needed for the operation and development of the state CJC system; (l) fixing standards for community and junior colleges to qualify for appropriations, and qualifications for community and junior colleges teachers; and (m) having sign-off approval on the State Plan for Vocational Education which is developed in cooperation with appropriate units of the State Department of Education.

Missouri The Coordinating Board for Higher Education, staffed by the Department of Higher Education, was established in 1963 and functions as the constitutional coordinating agency for postsecondary education in the state. The board has 9 members appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate. All 9 members represent the general public and serve 6-year terms of office. The coordinating board is a cabinet-level agency and its executive officer, the Commissioner of Higher Education, is appointed by the board and serves at its pleasure.

The board has statutory responsibility for planning and coordination of the state's system of postsecondary education, including public 4-year institutions, community colleges and independent and proprietary schools, colleges and universities. The board is responsible for conducting studies of population and enrollment trends affecting institutions of higher education in the state; identifying higher education needs in the state in terms of the requirements and potential of the young people and labor force requirements (commerce and industry) and of professional and public services; developing more effective and economical specialization among institutions in types of education programs offered and students served and for more effective coordination and mutual support in the utilization of facilities, faculty and other resources; coordinating reciprocal agreements with out-of-state institutions/entities; approval of new state-supported senior colleges or residence centers; establishing admission guidelines to facilitate transfer of students between institutions of postsecondary education in Missouri; institutional budget review and recommendations; and program approval for all public institutions, data collection and research. The board also administers the state's grant and scholarship programs and is the designated guaranty agency for the Federal Family Education Loan Program.

North Carolina

The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina (UNC) was created by legislative action of the 1971 General Assembly on July 1, 1972. Its broad purpose is to plan and develop a well-planned and coordinated higher education system, to improve the quality of higher education, to extend its benefits to all citizens, and to encourage an economical use of state resources. It also governs 16 public senior institutions in the state. The Board of Governors is responsible for program approval; preparation of a single, unified budget request for all 16 public senior institutions; setting enrollment levels and other matters not delegated to institutional boards of trustees. It maintains close liaisons with the governing boards for the public schools and the community colleges. The chief executive officer of the university, the president, is elected by and serves at the pleasure of the Board. The Board does not serve as a cabinet department, but gives advice and recommendations concerning higher education to the governor, the General Assembly, the advisory budget commission and the institutional boards of trustees.

The Board is composed of 32 members, 16 of whom are elected by the legislature every 2 years. All 32 members, serving 4-year terms, are deemed members-at-large, charged with the responsibility of serving the best interests of the entire state. Special members of the Board include former governors, past board chairs and the president of the UNC Association of Student Governments; these ex-officio members, who serve by virtue of the office he or she holds/held, may not vote. At-large members may serve only 3 successive terms.

The State Board of Community Colleges was established by action of the 1979 General Assembly and began operations in 1981. The Board has governing authority for the 58 comprehensive public 2-year institutions and 1 technology center. The State Board of Community Colleges consists of 20 members: 10 members appointed by the governor (4 at-large and 6 regional members), 8 at-large members elected by the legislature, and the lieutenant governor and the state treasurer, who serve as ex-officio members by virtue of the elected office he or she holds. The State Board of Community Colleges establishes policies, regulations and standards for the administrative offices and the institutions that comprise the North Carolina Community College System. It elects the president of the system, who is its chief executive officer.

Oklahoma The State Regents for Higher Education, established by constitutional amendment in 1941, is the coordinating board in control for public postsecondary education in Oklahoma. Constitutionally, private institutions may be coordinated with the state system. The membership of the regents is set by the constitution at 9 members, appointed for 9-year overlapping terms by the governor with the consent of the Senate, all representing the general public. The regents have constitutional responsibility for prescribing standards, granting degrees, setting fees, determining budget needs and making budget allocations to all public institutions of higher education, both senior and junior. In addition, the regents have constitutional authority for planning and coordination of all postsecondary institutions, both public and private. The executive officer of the regents is appointed by the regents and serves at their pleasure.
South Carolina The Commission of Higher Education was established in 1967 as the statutory coordinating agency for higher education. In 1978, 1988 and 1995, the General Assembly adopted amendments to the enabling legislation, which restructured the commission membership. The current commission consists of 14 members appointed by the governor -- 1 at-large member to serve as chairman, 1 from each of 6 congressional districts appointed upon the recommendation of the majority of the legislative delegation from the respective districts, 3 members appointed from the state at-large (all of the above for 4-year terms), 3 ex-officio voting members, who serve by virtue of the office that he or she holds, to represent the public colleges and universities (1 must serve on the board of trustees of 1 of the public senior research institutions, 1 must serve on the board of trustees of 1 of the 4-year public institutions and 1 must be a member of 1 of the local area technical commissions on the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education) and 1 ex-officio nonvoting member, who serves by virtue of the office that he or she holds, of the Advisory Council of Private College Presidents to represent the independent colleges and universities. The four ex-officio members are appointed upon the advice and consent of the Senate and serve 2-year terms.

The current version of the legislation requires a comprehensive strategic planning and institutional effectiveness program, as well as a performance funding system where the institutions are funded based entirely on performance indicators categorized under nine critical success factors. The institutions must submit their budgets to the commission, which presents a unified appropriation request to the governor and appropriate standing committees of the General Assembly. The commission must approve all new programs proposed by the senior institutions and all degree-granting programs from the two-year technical colleges. It also must approve all requests for facilities and establish procedures for transferability of courses at the undergraduate level. The commission also has responsibility for licensing both nondegree- and degree-granting institutions to operate in the state and to approve programs for veterans' benefits. It administers several state student aid programs, a variety of federal and state programs, as well as several Southern Regional Education Board contract programs.

The executive officer of the commission is appointed by and serves at the commission's pleasure. Although South Carolina government has been reorganized so that there are some cabinet-level departments, education is not included in this cabinet structure, and there is no secretary of education.

Tennessee The Tennessee Higher Education Commission was created by the General Assembly in 1967 to serve as the statutory coordinating agency for postsecondary education in Tennessee. The Commission consists of 15 members -- 9 represent the general public and are appointed by the governor for 6-year terms (legislative consent is not required), the comptroller of the treasury, secretary of state and the state treasurer serve as ex-officio voting members by virtue of the elected office that he or she holds, and 2 student members (1 student from each governing system, with the alternating right to vote). Also the executive director of the State Board of Education serves as an ex-officio member by virtue of the office that he or she holds. The Commission has statutory responsibility for planning and coordination for technology centers, public technical institutes, community colleges and 4-year institutions, and as a matter of policy for private institutions. The Commission has statutory responsibility to license and regulate private trade schools operating within the state. By statute, the Commission reviews institutional budgets and makes budget recommendations for public technical institutes, community colleges and senior universities, as well as the system of 26 nondegree-granting state area vocational-technical schools. In addition, the Commission has statutory authority to approve new degree programs for this same set of institutions. Tennessee does not have an office of secretary of education, and the Commission does not serve as a cabinet department. The executive officer is appointed by and serves at the Commission's pleasure.
Texas The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board serves as the statutory coordinating agency for public postsecondary education in the state. The board is composed of 18 members representing the general public, who are appointed by the governor with Senate confirmation for 6-year overlapping terms. The board has statutory responsibility for approving or disapproving all degree programs and off-campus activities for public community and technical colleges and universities. The board also develops formulas for use by the governor and Legislative Budget Board in recommending legislative appropriations needed to finance public higher education institutions. The board is responsible for authorizing elections to create public community college districts and the adoption of standards for the operation of public community colleges. It also approves or disapproves most major new construction and repair and rehabilitation at public universities. Texas does not have an office of secretary of education, and the board does not function as a cabinet department. The commissioner of higher education (the agency's chief executive officer) is appointed by and serves at the board's pleasure.
Virginia The State Council of Higher Education, established in 1956 and amended in structure and responsibility in 1970, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2001 serves as the statutory coordinating agency in the state. The council consists of 11 members appointed by the governor with confirmation by the legislature. All members represent the general public and serve 4-year office terms. The council has statutory responsibility for planning and coordination, program approval for public senior and junior institutions, and responsibility for the development of all budget guidelines and formulas. In addition, the council reviews institutional budgets and makes budget recommendations. It also administers a number of higher education programs, including several pertaining to affirmative action and conducts numerous studies at the request of the governor and the general assembly. Virginia has a statutory office secretary of education established in 1972. The State Council of Higher Education is not a cabinet department, and the executive officer of the council is appointed by and serves at the council's pleasure.
West Virginia The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is the state-level coordinating agency for public postsecondary education in West Virginia. Established in 2000, the commission takes the place of the Board of Trustees of the University System of West Virginia and the Board of Directors of the State College System. The commission is composed of 9 members, who serve overlapping terms of 4 years. The governor appoints 7 members, and two ex-officio members ‐ the Secretary of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools ‐ also serve on the commission. The commission is charged with developing, gaining consensus around and overseeing the implementation of a public policy agenda for postsecondary education in West Virginia.

Source: Online Database for Postsecondary Governance, Education Commission of the States (ECS)