The Pennsylvania Department of Education exercises limited jurisdiction over colleges, universities and seminaries. Each institution must be authorized to operate. Depending on the type of authorization, institutions may be required to have new programs approved.
Each institution of higher education has its own board (or council) of trustees, which is responsible for the governance of that institution. The academic administration and day-to-day operations of the institution fall to the presidents and their staffs.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) has a twenty-member Board of Governors. The Chancellor of the PASSHE is responsible for the operation of the PASSHE system. Each PASSHE institution has its own president and Council of Trustees.
Private colleges and universities appoint members to their boards of trustees in accordance with the provisions stated in their articles of incorporation.
Community college boards of trustees are appointed by the local sponsor (school district, county, etc.) and are required to be representative of the region to be served by the college.