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Created in 1976, the Board for Higher Education (Chapter 538, Acts of 1976) replaced the Maryland Council for Higher Education and its predecessor the Maryland Advisory Council on Higher Education (Chapter 41, Acts of 1963). The Board consisted of eleven voting members, serving five year terms, who were appointed by the Governor with the consent and advice of the Senate. The Chairman of the Student Advisory Assembly to the State Board for Higher Education served a one year term as a non-voting student member. Policies adopted by the Board were implemented by the Commissioner for Higher Education. Established in 1963, the Maryland Advisory Council on Higher Education was created to investigate the educational needs of the State in the areas of undergraduate, graduate, adult education, professional training, and research and teaching facilities. After conducting studies, the council presented its findings and recommendations to the various institutions, advising them of potential areas for development and statewide coordination of resources. In assuming the advisory role of its predecessors, the Board for Higher Education expanded its duties to include more extensive responsibility and power to coordinate and regulate Maryland's higher education system. In conjunction with continued research on the needs and resources of the universities and colleges, the board in 1986 developed a master plan outlining statewide educational goals. Revised yearly as necessary, this plan served as a basis for ensuring compliance to established guidelines in financial and academic matters. The board granted approval to operate to all of Maryland's public and private postsecondary institutions based on their adherence to standards for issuing certificates and degrees. Proposals for new educational programs were also reviewed by the board prior to being implemented in order to ensure that standards were met and that equal educational opportunity was provided to all students. The state institutions were required to submit their budgetary requests to the Board for Higher Education for review and approval, and an operating budget was established yearly including guidelines for tuition, fees, and faculty salaries. As of 1978 all postsecondary educational institutions that discontinued operation were required to transfer their records to the board for permanent retention (Chapter 538, Acts of 1976). The academic records of former students were the main focus of the legislation. The Board for Higher Education was superseded in 1988 by the Higher Education Commission.

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