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 The Board in turn was superseded in 1988 by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The Commission implemented a reorganization of Maryland universities and colleges in 1988 (Chapter 246, Acts of 1988).

In consultation with the governing boards and agencies concerned with higher education, the Commission develops and updates an overall plan, consistent with the Maryland Charter for Higher Education, to coordinate the growth and development of postsecondary education in Maryland. The Charter, adopted in 1988, sets forth State goals for higher education (Code Education Article, secs. 10-201 through 10-212).

In 1991, when the State Board for Community Colleges was abolished, its functions were transferred to the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Today, the Commission administers the State funding extended to community colleges.

Appointed by the Governor, the Secretary of Higher Education oversees the State's system of higher education. The Secretary also serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism; the Maryland Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness; the Education Coordinating Committee; the Maryland Education Council; the Education Coordinating Council for Correctional Institutions; the Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness; the State Use Industries Advisory Committee; the Maryland Higher Education Investment Program Board; the Southern Regional Education Board; and the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs.

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 divisions: Finance Policy; Planning and Academic Affairs; and Policy Analysis and Research.


The Division of Finance Policy started in 1988 as the Division of Finance and Policy Analysis and received its present name in 1993. It oversees State scholarship administration, finance, and facilities.

The Division administers over $30 million in State student financial aid. For institutions of higher education, the Division sets guidelines for operating and capital budgets; analyzes campus budget requests; and makes recommendations on funding. The Division also directs State aid for community colleges and private institutions, and capital improvements for community colleges.

The State Scholarship Administration began in 1961 as the State Scholarship Board (Chapter 412, Acts of 1961). The Board was reorganized in 1988 as the State Scholarship Administration under the Maryland Higher Education Commission (Chapter 246, Acts of 1988). The Administration is responsible for all State student financial aid programs.


The Division of Planning and Academic Affairs was formed in 1988. The Division approves academic programs and new institutions; oversees postsecondary institutions, including private career schools; and analyzes the needs of and plans for education and training programs. In addition, the Division oversees the Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission.


The Division of Policy Analysis and Research 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, Policy Analysis and Research reformed as a division in 1997.

The Division studies major issues in postsecondary education for the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The Division also collects and analyzes data later reported in the Commission's annual Data Book and Trend Book and on the Internet. For public colleges and universities, the Division coordinates the yearly performance accountability process and prepares enrollment projections.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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