Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Higher Education Coordination Commission

About the HECC Agency

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is a State of Oregon agency and Commission working to improve equitable access to and success in higher education and workforce training for Oregonians statewide. We coordinate funding and policy, and convene partners across the public and private higher education and workforce landscape. Here you can learn about the work and structure of the HECC agency.

About Our Name

When people hear “higher education,” they sometimes think first of college degrees. Higher education includes college degrees and more. At the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), we approach higher education broadly as the wide range of postsecondary education and workforce training options beyond high school—from apprenticeships to career certificates, and from two- and four-year degrees to doctorates.

Read a short introduction to the HECC. 

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is the name for both the state agency and the Governor-appointed volunteer Commission that sets the vision for and makes public decisions guiding the agency. Our agency also convenes numerous other advisory boards and public bodies that guide our programs and strategies. The HECC agency is comprised of eight distinct offices of approximately 185 employees, led by Executive Director Ben Cannon.

Learn about how to stay engaged in our public policy work.

Our Responsibilities

The eight offices of the HECC administer numerous programs serving Oregonians and carry out our statutory responsibilities for funding and policy coordination statewide. The public policy and funding work led by the Commission and carried out by the agency is guided by the state’s educational attainment goals, and by a strategic plan that is anchored in the HECC Equity Lens. Some of our key responsibilities are described below.

  • Develop state goals for the postsecondary system, including community colleges, public universities, and student access programs (ORS 350.075)
  • Adopt a strategic plan for achieving the state’s postsecondary goals (ORS 350.075)
  • Develop a comprehensive, biennial higher education budget request linked to the strategic plan (ORS 341.626, 350.075, 350.090, 350.095, 352.089)
  • Advise the Governor, Legislative Assembly, institutions, and other governmental entities on higher education policy issues (ORS 350.075)​​

  • Adopt formulas for the distribution of state funding to community colleges and, separately, public universities (ORS 350.075)
  • Develop, award, and monitor grants and contracts for the distribution of state and federal funding to higher education and workforce partners (ORS 350.075)
  • Adopt methodologies for the distribution of state financial aid to Oregon students (ORS 348)​​

  • Approve mission statements for public universities (ORS 350.085, 352.089)
  • Approve new certificate and degree programs at public universities and community colleges (ORS 341.465, ORS 350.075)
  • Approve statewide transfer pathways, a common course numbering system, and policies and procedures related to the movement of students between community colleges and public universities (ORS 350.390 to 350.432​​)
  • Authorize degrees for some private and out-of-state schools (ORS 348.594 to 348.615)
  • Manage licensure and teacher registration for private career schools (ORS 345.010 to 345.450, 341.440, 342.197, 348.070, 687.011)
  • Develop dual credit standards and credit for prior learning standards (ORS 340.310, 341.430, and 350.110)
  • Approve resident tuition increases greater than five percent for public universities (ORS 352.102)​

  • With the Oregon Workforce and Talent Development Board (WTDB) and the Oregon Employment Department, manage state implementation of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (ORS 660)
  • Operate a youth employment program, youth-oriented conservation corps programs, and federal service programs through the HECC Office of Workforce Investments (ORS 418.653 to 418.658, 458.555 to 458.575 and 660)
  • Administer the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon Promise, Oregon Tribal Student Grant, ASPIRE, and other programs through the HECC Office of Student Access and Completion (ORS 348, ORS 341.522)​​

  • ​Conduct data collection, analysis, research, and reporting across all sectors of higher education (ORS 350.075)
  • ​​Conduct biennial evaluations of public universities (ORS 352.061)

The HECC also advises the Oregon Legislature and the Oregon Governor on policy and funding to meet state postsecondary goals.

Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules Pertaining to the HECC

Offices of the HECC

 Learn more about the eight offices of the HECC.

Our Mission and Values

Agency Mission Statement: By promoting collaboration and coordination between Oregon’s education and workforce partners, as well as through our own programs and policy leadership, HECC staff ensure that Oregonians experience increased access, equity, and success in completing their higher education, training, and career goals.

Agency Values: Transparency, Equity, Integrity, Trust, Collaboration, Accountability, Lifelong Learning