In 1974, the State Postsecondary Education Commission (SPEC) was established by the legislature to provide a framework to preserve Hawaiʻi‘s continued eligibility to receive and disburse federal student aid funding under Title IV of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965. The Commission also had certain oversight responsibility for the postsecondary education review program.
In 2006, Hawaiʻi Revised Statute Chapter 305H was repealed and the SPEC review program was moved to the Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) in 2013 when HRS Chapter 305J was enacted.
Since then the Commission’s powers and authority include cooperation with the federal government to qualify the State to provide administrative action and/or receive funds made available under the Higher Education Act of 1965, Public Law 89-329, as amended from time to time, and in addition may serve as the state agency for the receipt of federal student information and/or federal funds when federal legislation dealing with higher education or post-secondary education requires, as a condition of state receipt of such funds, the designation of a state agency that is broadly representative of the general public and of post secondary education in the state and when agencies other than the commission may not qualify. The commission may exercise and perform any other powers and duties that the commission considers necessary, proper, or desirable in order to carry out effectively the duties and responsibilities of the commission as prescribed in this chapter or by statute.
Membership of SPEC includes the UH Board of Regents, plus four other members representing the general public, as well as public and private nonprofit and proprietary post-secondary education institutions. The commission shall meet as needed for administrative action and/or the receipt of federal student information and/or federal funds.