ITEM 105-102-R1199

220 Higher Education Centers

Effective September 15, 1992; Issued March 22, 1993


Introduction:

Montana's community colleges, independent colleges and units of the University System share the responsibility to maximize the availability of educational opportunities for the state's citizens in a manner, which will enhance quality while avoidingminimizing unnecessary duplication of programseffort and potentially harmful competition. Concurrently, these same institutions must insure that the state's resources are used in a prudent and responsible manner. To these ends, this policy will govern the offering of off-campus instructional programs at higher education centers by units of the Montana University System.

Board policy:

  1. The presidents and chancellors of the Montana University System are authorized to plan higher education centers to provide additional educational services to the people of the State of Montana.
  2. Credit courses shall be offered at locations remote from the main campus through continuing education, or at an approved higher education center, or via distributed learning technologies in accord with the provisions of Regents’ policy 303.7. Credit courses offered through the regular instruction program shall be offered off-campus only at approved higher education centers.
  3. The Montana Board of Regents is committed to using state resources in a responsible manner and to providing broad access to educational opportunity. Units of the Montana University System will not offer degree programs which unnecessarily duplicate existing programs offered by a community or independent college in its immediate community.
  4. Prior to proposing a new program at a Center, the MUS campus will consult with the local campuses, provide them a written copy of the proposed new program(s)s and request input. If the community or independent colleges wish, they may submit written comment to the sponsoring institution and the Office of the Commissioner for Higher Education. If institutions chose not to respond to the proposal, they will be offered a further and final opportunity to provide written comment to the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education when the proposal appears as an Item of Intent on the Board of Regents’ agenda.Higher education centers which duplicate existing undergraduate programs offered by a community college or an independent college in its respective local community will not be established by a Montana University System institution unless the affected community college or independent college signifies its approval of the offering in writing to the Commissioner of Higher Education.
  5. The Board of Regents may authorize the establishment of a higher education center upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Higher Education, according to the following guidelines.

Procedures:

  1. Any program offered at a higher education center must be within the approved role and scope mission and authorized programs of the institution.
  2. Before a request is made to the Commissioner of Higher Education for approval to establish a higher education center or to revise an existing authorization, the president shall document that the following conditions have been met. provisions of Regents policy 303.7, Distributed Learning, Standards and Conditions, items 1-3 have been met.
    1. Faculty. Persons assigned to teach courses for which resident credit is to be granted must have credentials at least equivalent to those required of faculty teaching the same or similar courses for resident credit at the home institution.
    2. Educational resources. Additional resources, including library and/or laboratory facilities and other resources specifically developed for a specific course or program must be sufficient to offer a quality program.
    3. Student eligibility. Students must meet the same admission and academic standards including grade point averages that are required of students taking the same or similar programs at the home institution.
    4. Local coordinator. In addition, the president shall designate A a local coordinator shall be designated and who will be available in the community in which the center is located in order to handle administrative arrangements and to act as a contact person.
    5. Student counseling and advisement. Provisions shall be made for student counseling and advisement.
  3. Program proposal. dissemination. The university president shall provide a copy of any proposal to establishfor the establishment of a new sitecenter or to modify major modification of existing programs at an existing through a higher education center shall be provided to the Commissioner and all institutions of higher education in the state and to the vocational technical centers for their information and comment at least 60 days before action on the proposal is requested. The proposal shall address the following:
    1. The specific program areas or levels of instruction for which authorization is requested.
    2. Documentation of the need for the program and data on the student population to be served, the course offerings projected, the proposed program schedule, and the number of regular, resident and adjunct faculty who will be utilized.
    3. Sources of funding, including reallocations effected to fund the program.
    4. Facilities to be used for the center and an assessment of their adequacy for the delivery of the program(s) in question.
    5. The center or program’s address possible significant adverse impact on other Montana postsecondary educational institutions.

A higher education center may be designated for only certain program areas or certain levels of instruction.

  1. Fiscal practices. Programs of study offered through higher education centers are subject to the fiscal practices set forth in the Regents Distributed Learning policy 303.7 under Fiscal practices, items 1-3.
  2. Reporting requirements. Student credit hours generated in degree credit programs at
  3. higher education centers shall be subject to the same reporting requirements as regular instructional programs at the home institution.; however,

    a. Sseparate reports shall be prepared for each center and for each campus serving that center.

    b. The Montana University System Registrars' Manual for Reporting Enrollment Data shall be followed with submissions made according to the reporting schedule.

  4. Memoranda of understanding. Units of the Montana University System and the

community colleges may serve as education centers for the delivery of programs from other institutions.

    1. Memoranda of understanding shall govern sSuch arrangements will be governed by memoranda of understanding and shall be executed between the respective presidents and the Commissioner before the center is activated.
    2. Such These memoranda shall be in effect for no more than three years, but may be renewed with the approval of the Commissioner.
  1. Evaluation. The Commissioner of Higher Education in conjunction with the presidents shall provide for the evaluation of each higher education center after the third year of operation and periodically thereafter. If the center is not meeting its original or modified objectives, the Commissioner may recommend to the Regents that it be discontinued.
  2. Guidelines:

    1. A higher education center shall offer a structured, coherent educational program

    leading to a degree. It and shall not be merely the physical location for occasional course offerings. A proposal should contain data on the population to be served, the course offerings projected, and the number of regular, resident and adjunct faculty that will be utilized.

  3. Student credit hour generation. Student credit hours generated in degree credit programs at higher education centers shall be subject to the same reporting requirements as regular instructional programs at the home institution; however, separate reports shall be prepared for each center. The Montana University System Registrars' Manual for Reporting Enrollment Data shall be followed. If a course would not be eligible for credit at the home institution, it shall not be granted credit at a higher education center.
  4. Fees. The following fees apply:
    1. Regular Student Fees. Centers shall charge enrolled students the normal authorized on-campus fees including admission, registration, incidentals, building, etc. Units, however, may waive the student activity and student health fees for students enrolled in off-campus programs. Students not qualifying as state residents shall be required to pay the normal non-resident fee.
    2. Educational Service Fee. Upon approval of the Commissioner of Higher Education, an additional educational services fee may be charged each student to provide the services required by the program.
    3. Non-credit or Continuing Education Fees. Fees for any non-credit or continuing education programs which may be offered through a higher education center shall be governed by the appropriate Regent policies.
  1. Interinstitutional relations.
    1. When more than one institution conducts programs through a higher education center in the same community, the Commissioner of Higher Education shall be responsible for establishing policies and procedures to insure necessary program coordination.
    2. If concerns arise about potential competition between an independent or community college and units of the Montana University System in the development of higher education centers, the Commissioner of Higher Education may incorporate measures for addressing the problems.
    3. Montana University System institutions are encouraged to establish cooperative programs with independent colleges and community colleges as appropriate.
    4. Each college, university,vocational-technical center and community college is authorized to serve as a higher education center for delivery of academic programs from another unit provided that there is the appropriate memorandum of understanding signed by the respective presidents and the Commissioner of Higher Education. Such memoranda shall be in effect for no more than three years, but may be renewed with the approval of the Commissioner.
    1. Montana University System Higher Education Center. If a single system-wide higher education center is deemed more appropriate than separate institutional centers, the Commissioner of Higher Education shall establish policies to provide for necessary coordination, equitable distribution of student credit hours generated, allocation of fee revenues and any other matters. If it becomes desirable to change from existing separate higher education center operations to a system-wide program, the Commissioner may make such changes.
  1. Program quality. It shall be the responsibility of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the president(s) involved to insure that the quality of the programs offered at a higher education center shall meet the same criteria by which the quality of programs is assessed at the home institution. Programs which cannot meet such criteria may not be offered.
  2. Evaluation. The Commissioner of Higher Education in conjunction with the presidents shall provide for the evaluation of each higher education center after the third year of operation and periodically thereafter. If the center is not meeting its original or modified objectives, the Commissioner may recommend to the Regents that it be discontinued.
  3. Program proposal dissemination. A copy of any proposal for the establishment of new programs or major modification of existing programs through a higher education center shall be provided to all institutions of higher education in the state and to the vocational technical centers for their information and comment. The proposal shall address possible significant adverse impact on other Montana postsecondary educational institutions.
  1. Nomenclature. A higher education center shall be named as follows: (Name of Institution) Center at (Location) or Montana University System Center at (Location).

History:

Item 27-001-RO480, Higher Education Centers, Montana University System, April 21, 1980 as revised September 15, 1992.