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. The Commission coordinates two systems of higher education, the University of Tennessee institutions governed by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, and the state universities, community colleges, and technology centers 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 over 250,000 students.
The Commission is composed of nine lay members, with six year terms, representing congressional districts of the State; 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.