[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 by the General Assembly (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 The Board in turn was superseded in 1988 by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.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.

[photo, Anne Arundel Community College at Glen Burnie Town Center, 101 Crain Highway, Glen Burnie, Maryland] 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.

Anne Arundel Community College at Glen Burnie Town Center, 101 Crain Highway, Glen Burnie, Maryland, October 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

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 are three departments: Academic Affairs, External and Government Relations, and Finance and Administration. In addition, the Commission is assisted by the Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission, and five advisory bodies.


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 serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs; the Smart Growth Subcabinet; and the Governor's Warrior to Worker Council. The Secretary also chairs the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center Governing Board and the Segmental Advisory Council, and co-chairs the Pathways in Technology Early College High (P-TECH) Schools Stakeholder Work Group.

As a member, the Correctional Education Council; the Secretary of Higher Education serves on the Financial Education and Capability Commission; the Maryland 529 Board (formerly College Savings Plans of Maryland Board); the Project Green Classrooms Initiative; the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority; the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs; the P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland; the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs; and the Governor's Workforce Development Board.

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.

[photo, In 1976, the Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission was established within the State Board for Higher Education by the General Assembly (
Chapter 682, Acts of 1976). The Commission was placed under the Secretary of Higher Education in 1988 (Chapter 246, Acts of 1988).

For the fire, rescue and emergency medical education and training system in Maryland, the Commission establishes minimum standards and approves system programs. The Commission also develops and maintains a statewide master plan for fire-rescue education; collects and disseminates data; and reviews research in the field.

"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.

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 of Research and Policy Analysis 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 prepared by the Office are available on the web.

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


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 two main offices: Academic Affairs.

The Office of Academic Affairs is responsible for four units: Career and Workforce Education, Collegiate Affairs, the Maryland Digital Library, and Veterans Affairs.


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

Three offices make up the Department: Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs; Grants Management; and Legislative Affairs.


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.

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.

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 was authorized by the General Assembly 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.

Maryland Constitutional Offices & Agencies
Maryland Departments
Maryland Independent Agencies
Maryland Executive Commissions, Committees, Task Forces, & Advisory Boards
Maryland Universities & Colleges
Maryland Counties
Maryland Municipalities
Maryland at a Glance

Maryland Manual On-Line

Search the Manual

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

[ Archives' Home Page  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

Copyright June 10, 2024 Maryland State Archives