Posted by: Gregory Linton | 11/27/2020

How do trustees view the future of higher education?

In January, the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) released its third annual Trustee Index in collaboration with Gallup. The results are based on a 10-minute web survey of college and university board members about the issues they see as most pressing for their institutions. The survey was conducted October 7-November 3, 2019, and 919 members completed the survey. Here are some interesting findings with a focus on private, nonprofit institutions when that information is provided:

  • 85% of all trustees are concerned about the future of the higher education sector, an increase from 73% in 2018.
  • 42% of all trustees are “very concerned” about the future of higher education, an increase from 28% in 2018.
  • The two greatest concerns of trustees of private institutions are the financial sustainability of higher education institutions (42%) and the price of higher education for students and their families (25%).
  • 60% of trustees of private institutions express concern about their own institution’s financial sustainability.
  • Only 35% of all trustees agree that U.S. college graduates have the skills they need to be competitive in the global economy.
  • Only 26% of all respondents feel colleges and universities have a strong understanding of what employers look for in job candidates.
  • 89% of all trustees say their institution or system is a good place for students of minority racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Only 35% of trustees “strongly agree” that they have a full understanding of their institution’s accreditation process.
  • 30% of trustees of private institutions think their institution is not prepared to address food insecurity among students, and 24% think they are not prepared to meet the mental health needs of students.
  • 1/3 of all trustees believe their board spends too little time on “strategic planning” and “educational quality.”

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