Montana State Legislature

Agency: Commissioner of Higher Education

*Navigate the categories below for more information about the CHE

Agency Mission: To serve students through the delivery of high quality, accessible postsecondary educational opportunities, while actively participating in the preservation and advancement of Montana’s economy and society.

The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) is the state-level administrative organization of the Montana University System (MUS). The Montana Constitution, Article X, Section 9, grants governance authority over the MUS to the Board of Regents (Regents), with seven members appointed by the Governor. All state funds appropriated by the legislature to the Regents for the support of the MUS are channeled through OCHE. The Constitution charges the Regents with hiring a Commissioner of Higher Education (CHE) who serves as its executive staff. The agency’s 12 programs are:

  • OCHE Administration*-General administration of the Montana University System including system level academic, financial, legal, and labor management functions. The Montana Constitution requires the Board of Regents to appoint a commissioner of higher education and prescribe his/her duties
  • Student Financial Assistance - Financial assistance programs for students attending units of the Montana University System. Programs include several state and federal funded grant programs, state support for professional student exchange programs, and loan repayment assistance programs
  • Community College Assistance – State funding for community colleges is budgeted in this program. Two-year community colleges in Kalispell, Glendive, and Miles City collectively serve about 1,727 resident full-time students
  • MUS Group Health Insurance – This program administers a system wide group benefit program for MUS campuses, agencies, and programs, and the state's community colleges. Both the employer and the employee participate in the cost of this program
  • Educational Outreach and Diversity Program - A primarily federally funded program that serves at-risk and underrepresented populations to increase participation and retention in postsecondary education
  • MUS Self-Insured Workers Compensation- Since July 2003, this program manages the MUS self-insured workers compensation program. All workers compensation insurance for the MUS is provided through this program
  • Workforce Development - The OCHE and the Office of Public Instruction coordinate the primarily federal efforts to support vocational education at the secondary and postsecondary levels
  • Appropriation Distribution – State funding for university educational units and agencies is budgeted in this program. The MUS campuses collectively serve approximately 23,000 resident full-time students.
    • University Units*
      • UM Missoula
      • UM MT Tech
      • UM Western
      • UM Helena
      • MSU Bozeman
      • MSU Billings
      • MSU Northern
      • MSU Great Falls

There are no current audit reports at this time.

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