Higher Education Commission

​​The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) is Maryland’s higher education regulatory and coordinating board, responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland’s public & private colleges and universities, as well as the private career schools.

The agency reviews and approves the start-up and continuation of new colleges, universities, and private career schools in the state, as well as all requests for new academic programs at established institutions.

MHEC is also responsible for providing more than $100 million annually in financial assistance to Maryland students and administers specialized grants to postsecondary institutions.

Cabinet member image 

Dr. Sanjay Rai

Acting Secretary


Dr. Sanjay Rai is a higher education champion with more than 30 years of experience in faculty and leadership positions at a community college, liberal arts university, and state-supported institution. He is recognized for his work globally as a faculty member, scholar, and leader.

His work has resulted in greater access, student success, and closing achievement gaps. He led the development of partnerships with K-12 along with business and industry, resulting in the creation of early college and new academic and training programs serving Cyber, Biotech, Information Technology, and Data Sciences. His work in this field also resulted in securing $25 million in competitive grants to address the high-tech needs in the region and the state.

He has numerous publications including scholarly articles and his most recent book, “Basic Insights in Vector Calculus” published in 2020. He has been honored with numerous awards throughout his career, including the Chief Academic Officer of the Year, the Leadership Montgomery Outstanding Leader Award, and the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Rai’s education includes degrees from India, Canada, and the United States, earning a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.​​