The responsibilities of the Board of Regents and those of the four management boards are carefully drawn to ensure a balance and distinction between coordinating, planning and policy-making, and management implementation. The 1974 Louisiana Constitution gives the Board of Regents the following authority:
- To review or eliminate existing degree programs or departments;
- To approve, disapprove, or modify proposed academic programs or departments;
- To study both the need for and feasibility of new postsecondary institutions as well as the conversion of existing schools into campuses offering more advanced courses of study;
- To formulate and update a master plan for higher education (which must include a higher education funding formula); and
- To review annual budget proposals for the operating and capital needs of each public institution prior to compilation of the Regents' higher education budget recommendations. The Board also recommends priorities for capital construction and improvements.
The Constitution provides that all duties and responsibilities not specifically vested in the Board of Regents be assigned to the respective management boards. This carefully drawn division of responsibility enables the Board of Regents to chart general academic and fiscal directions for higher education in Louisiana without becoming unnecessarily entangled in the day-to-day mechanics of operating college campuses.
Thus, in practice, the Board of Regents' determines what academic programs an institution may offer and assesses the quality and need for those programs, but the management boards oversee instructional operations; the Regents administer the funding formula and set guidelines for preparing campus budgets, but the management boards have the responsibility of preparing and administering those budgets; the Regents set tenure standards that the university systems must meet or exceed, but only the management boards may approve campus personnel actions.
The Board of Regents is responsible for a wide range of planning, policy-making, and coordinating activities, touching every aspect of higher education operations. To facilitate the handling of this broad spectrum of activities, the agency is organized into divisions--Planning, Research and Performance; Academic and Student Affairs; Finance and Facilities, Public Affairs, Administration, and Sponsored Programs.