A. Before the Commission may evaluate the readiness of an institution to operate or award new degrees in the State, including the offering of an instructional program or a degree level not previously subject to approval or recommendation or not authorized by an institution's charter, the institution shall present evidence demonstrating the educational need to establish operations, offer programs, and award the degrees in question in the State.
B. The evidence to be considered shall include:
(1) Degree to be awarded;
(2) Area of specialization;
(3) Purpose or objective of the program or course of study to be offered;
(4) Specific academic content of the program or course of study;
(5) Quality of the proposed program in comparison to existing programs;
(6) Analysis of the market for the program; and
(7) State's equal educational opportunity obligations under State and federal law.
C. In addition, the institution shall demonstrate that the proposed program, for which the institution is making application, meets a critical and compelling regional or Statewide need and is consistent with the Maryland State Plan for Postsecondary Education.
D. The institution shall clearly state the demand and need for a program, for which the institution is making application, in terms of meeting present and future needs of the region and the State in general. Two kinds of needs may be identified:
(1) Societal needs, including the tradition of liberal arts education, which provides immeasurable returns to the State in part by instilling in citizens a capacity for advanced learning and individual and societal benefits regardless of workforce or market demand considerations; and
(2) Occupational needs relative to meeting workforce requirements or upgrading vocational or technical skills.
E. Market Demand Data.
(1) The institution shall present data projecting market demand and the availability of openings in the job market to be served by the new program for which the institution is making application. The type of information submitted will vary, depending on the program, but may include workforce and employment projections prepared by the federal and State governments, professional associations, and trade associations.
(2) With the exception of programs in the liberal arts, recently collected, existing, or new market surveys shall be used, which clearly provide quantifiable and reliable data from prospective employers on the education and training needs and the anticipated number of vacancies expected over the next 5 years.
(3) In assessing demand for a new program for which the institution is making application, an institution shall also present data showing the current and projected supply of prospective graduates in that program area in the State and region.