The Tennessee Higher Education Commission was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly to achieve coordination and foster unity with regard to higher education in the state. The Commission coordinates and provides guidance to the institutions governed by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, the six locally-governed state universities, and the community colleges, and colleges of applied technology governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. There are currently nine public universities, two special purpose institutes, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology in Tennessee that serve approximately 250,000 students.
The Commission is composed of nine voting members appointed from the general public, each serving six-year terms and representing the Grand Divisions of the State equally; three Constitutional Officers who are ex-officio voting members (Comptroller of the Treasury, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State); two ex-officio student members; and the Executive Director of the State Board of Education, as an ex-officio non-voting member.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission is the state's coordinating agency for higher education. Guided by the Public Agenda for Tennessee Higher Education, THEC oversees an array of finance, academic, research and consumer protection initiatives that promote student success and support the State's completion agenda for postsecondary education. THEC actively seeks to develop policy recommendations, programmatic initiatives, and partnerships that increase educational attainment in the state while improving higher education access and success for all Tennesseans.