The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education was established in 1967 and serves as the coordinating board for South Carolina’s 33 public institutions of higher learning. In addition to partnering with institutions to deliver an effective statewide higher education system, the CHE acts both as an oversight entity on behalf of the General Assembly, and an advocate for the citizens of South Carolina as they seek opportunities to improve their lives, and those of their families, through higher education.
The agency performs a range of work to support and coordinate the state system of higher education. Generally, this entails:
- Administering state, regional, and federal programs, in addition to state-funded lottery scholarships and grants.
- Approving new academic degree programs and institutions’ revisions to mission statements.
- Collecting, analyzing, and reporting comprehensive data on postsecondary education in South Carolina.
- Coordinating the interests of federal and state government, institutions of higher education, public K12 education, students and their families, and the business community.
- Licensing non-public educational institutions operating and soliciting within the state.
- Recommending policy to the governor, the General Assembly, and relevant state agencies using data.
- Reviewing the productivity of existing academic programs and institutions’ missions to see they are advancing defined state goals.
- About the Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners
The CHE is governed by a board of 15 members appointed by the Governor. There are four statewide at-large members, with one appointed as chair; one member from each of the state’s seven Congressional Districts; three members who serve as college and university trustees representing the public sectors of higher learning, which include research institutions, four-year comprehensive teaching institutions, and technical colleges; and one non-voting ex officio member who serves as a president of an independent college representing the independent higher learning institutions.
Members representing Congressional Districts are appointed by the Governor upon recommendation of a majority of the State Senators and House members comprising the District’s legislative delegation. The remaining members are recommended and appointed on the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners serve four-year terms, except for the institutional representatives, who serve two-year terms. All members continue to serve until a replacement is named.
As outlined in its enabling legislation, the Commission can organize its membership into standing committees as it sees fit. The Commission has four standing committees at present: the Executive Committee, the Committee on Academic Affairs and Licensing, the Committee on Access & Equity and Student Services, and the Committee on Finance & Facilities. These committees each specialize in a subject important to the Commission’s statutory mission, intake related proposals and information, and make policy recommendations to the Commission for final approval. Board members serve on one or more committee(s).
For additional information on our board members, visit our Board of Commissioners biography page.
- President and Executive Director, Dr. Rusty L. Monhollon
Dr. Rusty L. Monhollon became CHE's president and executive director in July of 2019. His higher education experience spans over 25 years, including nearly nine years as a senior staff member and assistant commissioner for academic affairs with the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE).
Prior to joining MDHE, Monhollon was an associate professor of history at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. In addition to his classroom experience, Monhollon is also a published historian. His publications include: “Baby Boom: People and Perspectives”, “This is America? The Sixties in Lawrence, Kansas” (Palgrave), and “From Brown to Brown: A Century of Struggle for Equality in Kansas”.
Messages from the President and Executive Director:
- CHE Organizational Structure
The Office of the President and Executive Director
The Office of the President and Executive Director carries out the directives of the CHE board, coordinates interagency operations, and oversees the agency’s legislative affairs and public relations.
The deputy director and legal counsel also work in this office to support the other offices’ work and provide legal advice. The deputy director also processes qualifying capital projects, leases, and land purchases proposed by public postsecondary institutions; collects data concerning institutions’ building conditions and infrastructure needs; and compiles the higher education portion of the Comprehensive Permanent Improvement Plan (CPIP).
The Office of Academic Affairs and Licensing
The Office of Academic Affairs and Licensing provides staff support for the committee of the same name. The office oversees academic programs, providing reviews, evaluations, and productivity analyses; manages the licensing of nonpublic institutions and distance education programs; and administers P-20 initiatives, such as the Centers of Excellence for teacher education, the SREB academic common market program, and regional contracts.
The Office of Student Services
The Office of Student Services supports the Committee on Access & Equity and Student Services. The office manages initiatives preparing high school students for entrance into postsecondary education; administers veteran and adult education programs; and supports student financial aid by administering state-funded lottery scholarships (Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, and HOPE), need-based grants, lottery tuition assistance (LTAP), and making determinations of residency.
The Office of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement
The Office of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement drives the pursuit and attainment of strategic goals established by the CHE and General Assembly, with an emphasis on focused initiatives leading to tangible and timely outcomes. OSIE programs providing agency-level support include Legislative and External Affairs, and Strategic Communications. The office also orchestrates programs dedicated to ASCEND 60X30 attainment, including Workforce Development, College Completion, and Educator Quality, Recruitment and Retention.
The Office of Fiscal Affairs
The Office of Fiscal Affairs manages agency funds, budgets, and procurement, and oversees distribution of state-funded scholarships.
The Office of Data-Research & Information Technology Management
The Office of Information Technology Management supports the agency and external stakeholders by collecting and reporting data from the state’s postsecondary institutions, maintaining the agency’s information system (CHEMIS), and maintaining this website.
Though separate, the CHE serves as the fiscal agent for the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL). PASCAL, a consortium of South Carolina’s academic libraries and state agency partners, fosters cooperation for shared licensing of electronic resources, universal borrowing, ILS hosting, and affordable learning.
- Regulatory Information, Policies and Procedures