Higher Education Commission
The New Hampshire Higher Education Commissioner regulates institutions of higher education in the state, including private postsecondary career schools, and administers state financial aid programs, among other duties.
Duties of the Higher Education Commission
New Hampshire RSA 21-N says that the Higher Education Commissioner shall:
(1) Regulate institutions of higher education pursuant to RSA 292:8-b through RSA 292:8-kk. The commission may accept accreditation by a recognized accrediting association in place of its own independent evaluation.
(2) Regulate private postsecondary career schools pursuant to RSA 188-G.
(3) Administer financial aid programs as provided in state and federal law for students attending higher education institutions, except as otherwise provided by law
(4) Apply for, accept, and expend state, federal, or other grants.
(5) Oversee the functions of the Veterans Education Services as authorized by Congress.
(6) Establish and collect reasonable annual fees related to the performance of statutory duties.
(7) Enter into cooperative interstate or international agreements to further operating efficiencies, student access, and educational opportunities.
(8) Be the designee for the integrated postsecondary education data system as developed by the United States Department of Education.
(9) Adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A relative to
(A) Organization and operation of the higher education commission established in this section.
(B) Approval and regulation of institutions of higher education pursuant to RSA 292:8-b through RSA 292:8-kk.
(C) Approval and regulation of private postsecondary career schools pursuant to RSA 188-G.
(D) Administration of financial aid programs for institutions of higher education, except as otherwise provided by law.
(E) Establishment and collection of reasonable fees for functions performed by the division of higher education and the higher education commission as required in this section.
(10) Assume other responsibilities as may be provided in state or federal law.
1963 - NH Coordinating Board of Advanced Education and Accreditation was established - NH Legislatures response to proliferation of newly formed institutions - to ensure protection of students. The NH Legislature has power to authorize institutions to grant degrees.
1973 - NH Postsecondary Education Commission was established and became a successor agency for both the Coordinating Board of Advanced Education and Accreditation and the Higher Education Facilities Commission. This was in response to the Federal 1202 Commission legislation calling for states to charge a Commission with responsibility for accepting and disbursing federal funds for a variety of needs, including studies and planning.
1976 - First full-time executive director hired. Purpose of Commission, as stated in RSA 188-D:1, "To consolidate and improve the role of the State of N.H. in planning for the most effective use of its resources in providing adequate postsecondary education, including vocational education, for its citizens and to facilitate securing for the students and educational institutions of the state benefits provided by the congress...."
1983 - Commission was granted authority to specify the degrees an institution may grant - N.H. Legislature retained authority to determine whether or not an institution is eligible to grant degrees.
1985 - Veterans State Approvals and Career School Licensing were moved under the jurisdiction of the Postsecondary Education Commission.
2011 - The Postsecondary Education Commission became the Higher Education Commission under the Division of Higher Education within the NH Department of Education.
2018 - The Division of Higher Education became the Division of Educator Support and Higher Education, combining the Bureau of Credentialing (Professional Standards Board), the Council for Teacher Education, and the Higher Education Commission.