MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


[photo, Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland] Origins of the Maryland Higher Education Commission trace to 1963, when the Advisory Council on Higher Education was formed (Chapter 41, Acts of 1963). The Council was renamed the Maryland Council on Higher Education in 1968 (Chapter 130, Acts of 1968). The State Board for Higher Education replaced the Council in 1976 (Chapter 538, Acts of 1976). The Board in turn was superseded in 1988 by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland, March 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


In 1988, the Maryland Higher Education Commission implemented a reorganization of Maryland universities and colleges (Chapter 246, Acts of 1988). When the State Board for Community Colleges was abolished in 1991, its functions transferred to the Commission.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission coordinates the growth and development of post-secondary education in Maryland. The Commission also administers certain aid programs to institutions of higher education, and provides financial assistance to students.

In keeping with the goals outlined in the State Plan for Higher Education, the Commission establishes statewide policies for public and private colleges and universities, and for private career schools. Moreover, the Commission reviews and approves the start-up and continuation of new colleges and universities in Maryland, as well as requests for new academic programs at established schools.

In 1991, State funding was extended to community colleges and to eligible independent colleges and universities (Chapter 465, Acts of 1991; Code Education Article, secs. 16-305, 17-101 through 17-105).

State Plan for Postsecondary Education. Every four years, the Commission reviews and updates the State Plan for Postsecondary Education, and reports on the status and needs of postsecondary education in Maryland (Code Education Article, sec. 11-105). The Plan is developed consistent with the Maryland Charter for Higher Education (adopted in 1988) which sets forth State goals for higher education (Code Education Article, secs. 10-201 through 10-212).

The Commission's twelve members are appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Eleven serve five-year terms; a student member has a one-year term. The Governor names the chair (Code Education Article, secs. 11-101 through 11-206).

Under the Commission is the Office of Research and Policy Analysis, and three departments: Academic Affairs; External and Government Relations; and Finance and Administration. The Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission also assists the Commission.


SECRETARY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Secretary of Higher Education oversees the State's system of higher education.

The Secretary of Higher Education chairs the Segmental Advisory Council, and serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs; and the Smart Growth Subcabinet. The Secretary also serves on the Maryland 529 Board (formerly College Savings Plans of Maryland Board); the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority; the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs; the Coordinating Council for Juvenile Services Educational Programs; the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center Governing Board; the Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness; the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs; the P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland; the Southern Maryland Higher Education Council; the Southern Regional Education Board; the Student Transfer Advisory Committee; the Governor's Warrior to Worker Council; the Governor's Workforce Development Board (formerly Governor's Workforce Investment Board); and the Board of Directors, Maryland Workforce Corporation.

Assisting the Secretary of Higher Education are the Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission and five advisory councils concerned with Faculty, Financial Assistance, Private Career School, Segmental, and Student.


"Between Morning and Night": Maryland Fire-Rescue Services Memorial scupture (2006), by Rodney Carroll, Calvert St., Annapolis, Maryland, July 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


OFFICE OF RESEARCH & POLICY ANALYSIS
The Office of Research and Policy Analysis originated in 1976 as Research, Planning, and Evaluation. In 1985, it reorganized as Research, Planning, and Information Systems. Under the Division of Planning and Academic Affairs since 1988, it reformed as the Division of Policy Analysis and Research in 1997. In June 2001, the Division became the Office of Policy Analysis and Research. The Office was renamed the Office of Planning, Research Analysis, and Workforce Development in 2008, and the Office of Research, Planning and Policy Analysis in 2010. It reformed under its present name in 2015.

For the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Office studies major issues in postsecondary education. The Office also collects and maintains statewide data from colleges and universities on students, degrees, facilities, finances, financial aid, and employees. This data and its analysis are used to prepare policy studies, information reports and statistical reports, and are available upon request to other State agencies, colleges and universities, businesses and nonprofit organizations, the media, and the general public. The Commission's annual Data Book and other studies are prepared by the Office and are available on the Internet.

For public colleges and universities, the Office coordinates the yearly performance accountability process and prepares enrollment projections.


DEPARTMENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

The Department of Academic Affairs originated in 1988 as the Division of Planning and Academic Affairs. It reorganized in August 2015 as the Department of Program Review and Compliance. In February 2016, it received its present name.

The Department approves academic programs and new institutions, and oversees postsecondary institutions, including private career schools. The needs of education and training programs, as well as plans for such programs, are analyzed by the Department.

The approval process for postsecondary institutions wishing to offer certificates, degrees, or diplomas in Maryland is coordinated by the Department. It establishes minimum requirements for academic programs and provides information about approved programs and the approval process. It also oversees the regulation of private career schools in Maryland.

The Department sets academic and financial standards for the Maryland Higher Education Commission to approve and provides information on how to open a school. For students, the Department maintains lists of approved schools and those which have closed. Enrollment figures, completion rates, and pass rates of graduates on any licensure examination are published by the Department. To protect students, the Department may take legal action against schools when necessary.

Under the Department are the Maryland Digital Library, and three offices: Career and Workforce Education; Collegiate Affairs; and Veterans Affairs.

CAREER & WORKFORCE EDUCATION [PRIVATE CAREER SCHOOLS]
In 2005, Career and Workforce Education was created under the Division of Planning and Academic Affairs. It reformed in 2007 into two units: Career Education, and Workforce Education. In 2012, these units merged with Workforce Development to become Career Education and Workforce Development. In August 2015, the office reorganized under its present name as part of the Department of Program Review and Compliance, and in February 2016 was made part of the Department of Academic Affairs.

Career and Workforce Education regulates private career schools, and approves continuing education classes at community colleges in Maryland. It sets academic and financial standards for these schools, and takes legal action when necessary to protect students.

Private career schools offer training and certification programs in fields with a specific career focus, such as computer technology, cosmetology, allied health fields, real estate, and business. No private career school may operate in Maryland without the approval of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

COLLEGIATE AFFAIRS
For the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Collegiate Affairs regulates both in-state and out-of-state collegiate institutions offering programs in Maryland. The office monitors academic, administrative, facility and financial standards set by the Commission. No collegiate institution may operate in Maryland without Commission approval.

Currently, some 57 in-state institutions and 40 out-of-state institutions have a physical presence in the State, and over 200 institutions offer distance education programs to Maryland students.

MARYLAND DIGITAL LIBRARY
The Maryland Digital Library was authorized in October 2004 within the Maryland Higher Education Commission (Chapter 402, Acts of 2004). The Library consists of the academic libraries in public and private nonprofit institutions of postsecondary education that are approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

The Library's purpose is to strengthen cooperation among Maryland academic libraries, and create fiscal efficiencies through such cooperation. In collaboration with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the State Archives, county libraries, and elementary and secondary school libraries, the Maryland Digital Library may develop programs to support all residents of the State (Code Education Article, secs. 11-801 through 11-804).

VETERANS AFFAIRS
In order for a veteran, reservist, or dependent to use G.I. Bill benefits for a veterans education program, the program first must be approved by a state approving agency. In Maryland, the Maryland Higher Education Commission serves as the official state approving agency, an approving authority for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Under the Department of Academic Affairs, Veterans Affairs promotes and safeguards quality education and training programs for all veterans and other eligible persons.


DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL & GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

The Department of External and Government Relations formerly was the Department for Public, Student, Legislative and Corporate Relations.

Four offices make up the Department. The offices are concerned with: Corporate Relations, Legislative Affairs, Outreach and Grants Management, and Public Relations.


DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION

The Department of Finance and Administration formerly was the Department of Finance Policy and Operations. It reformed under its present name in February 2016.

Under the Department are four offices: Budget and Finance, Facilities and Capital Budget Oversight, Information Technology, and Student Financial Assistance.

OFFICE OF FACILITIES & CAPITAL BUDGET OVERSIGHT
The Office administers the Community College Capital Grant Program, and the Facilities Master Plan and capital review process for all higher education institutions in Maryland.

OFFICE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Under the Department of Finance and Administration, the Office of Information Technology provides technical support and security for the hardware, software, and local area network infrastructure of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. For the federal Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System and the Maryland Longitudinal Data Systems Center, the Office submits higher education data. Moreover, the Office manages the Maryland Annual Collection System, which collects data on employees, enrollment, degrees, financial aid, student registration, and teacher education.


[photo, Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland] OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Nancy S. Grasmick Building, Ground Suite
6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, MD 21201

As the State Scholarship Board, the Office of Student Financial Assistance began in 1961 (Chapter 412, Acts of 1961). The Board reorganized in 1988 as the State Scholarship Administration under the Maryland Higher Education Commission (Chapter 246, Acts of 1988). On July 1, 2002, the Administration was renamed the Office of Student Financial Assistance (Chapters 315 and 429, Acts of 2002).

Nancy S. Grasmick Building, 6 North Liberty St., Baltimore, Maryland, March 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


The Office is responsible for all State student financial aid programs, administering over $100 million in assistance to Maryland students who wish to further their education beyond high school. Financial aid programs help such students pay for college and include need-based grants which are awarded on the basis of the student's ability to pay; merit-based scholarships given to students with special talents; career-based scholarships for students entering certain workforce programs; as well as awards to unique groups, such as military veterans; legislative scholarships; and parent and student loans. Students may use this aid at community colleges, independent colleges and universities, private career schools, and State public four-year institutions.

Through the Maryland College Aid Processing System (MCAPS), the Office processes State scholarship applications and allocates available funds. Using this System, students can apply on-line for certain scholarships, check application status, accept or decline awards, and change enrollment status.

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