Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

About the Council: Who We Are

The Council on Postsecondary Education is a coordinating board overseeing Kentucky's state universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The Council also licenses non-profit and for-profit higher education institutions to operate in Kentucky.

Role in Government

As higher education coordinating board, the Council facilitates a positive return on investment of public funds supporting higher education by monitoring academic quality, affordability and student success through policy and accountability measures. CPE's board and attached agency are not involved in a public college's day-to-day operations, board appointments, personnel matters, budget-setting or extracurricular activities.

Board Membership

The Governor appoints the Council members, which include 13 citizens, one faculty member and one student member; the Commissioner of Education is an ex-officio member. 

To become a member of the CPE board, citizens may apply to the Governor's Office. For more information, visit the Governor's Application for Boards and Commission webpage.

State Agency

A non-merit state agency supports the Council's members. Organizationally, it is attached to the Governor’s Office and run by a president, who is appointed by Council membership.

Role with Public Higher Education

Established as part of the education reforms set forth in the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, the Council has responsibilities to ensure a well-coordinated and efficient public postsecondary education system. Duties include, but are limited to:

For a full list of duties to the Commonwealth, view the Council's Roles and Responsibilities document.

Guiding Legislation

Role with Other Higher Education Institutions

In addition to its role overseeing public higher education, the Council licenses non-profit and for-profit colleges that offer four-year bachelor’s degrees to operate in Kentucky. These include

For an institution to be licensed, the Council thoroughly reviews the academic programs offered, including, the quality of faculty teaching those programs, the rigor of the curriculum and the course requirements for degrees.

In addition to licensure, Council staff mediates and investigates consumer complaints against higher education institutions that violate either Council policies or Kentucky law. In this role, the Council serves as an informal advisor or facilitator; it cannot provide legal advice or act as an attorney.

(For oversight of specialty schools offering only credentials less than a bachelor's degree, refer to the Kentucky Commission on Proprietary Education.)

Council Programs and Initiatives

In addition to its role coordinating public higher education, the Council also houses/coordinates several entities tied to legislative mandate or federal programs.

Background of the Council

The Council was originally established in 1934 as the Council on Public Higher Education, and was renamed the Council on Higher Education in 1977. The Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, commonly referred to as House Bill 1 (HB1), established the framework for the Council as it operates today. 

Last Updated: 2/7/2022