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50-State Comparison: State Postsecondary Governance Structures

This resource provides a comprehensive summary of the various entities that make up postsecondary governance ecosystems in each state and the District of Columbia. It also:

  • Focuses on and provides in-depth information about statewide coordinating boards/agencies and governing boards. If statewide boards do not exist, then information is provided for major systemwide coordinating and governing boards.
  • Includes general information about other state higher education entities, such as administrative/service offices, financial aid offices and advisory boards.
  • Lists other postsecondary system-level governing boards, most multicampus institutional boards and membership organizations.

This resource does not include information related to setting tuition rates, administering funding formulas or allocating funds. The state profile information is based primarily on statutes, codes, and state and postsecondary system board/agency policies. To the extent possible, Education Commission of the States reached out to state and system officials to verify its information.

Key Takeaways

  • Twenty-eight states have a single, statewide coordinating board/agency or governing board; 20 states have a single, statewide coordinating board/agency; eight states have a single, statewide governing board; and the remaining states have one or more major, systemwide coordinating or governing board(s) and/or a statewide administrative/service agency.
  • Coordinating and governing boards appoint most of the postsecondary education executive officers.
  • The majority of board members for statewide and systemwide coordinating and governing boards are appointed, and governors hold this authority for most boards.
  • In most states, several individuals serve as ex-officio board members based on their professional roles, such as higher education leaders and state K-12 superintendents.
  • Students serve on numerous boards and are appointed by the governor or selected by student government organizations.
  • Faculty members also serve on some boards and are usually selected by their professional associations.

Click on the comparisons below to see how all states approach these governance structures or choose to view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

50-State Comparisons

  1. State Overviews
  2. Single Statewide Coordinating Board/Agency or Governing Board and State Postsecondary Governance Models
  3. Statewide and Major Postsecondary System Coordinating and Governing Boards
  4. Agencies and System Offices Affiliated with Coordinating and Governing Boards
  5. Administrative and Advisory Entities
  6. Other Postsecondary System and Multi-Campus Boards
  7. Membership Organizations
  8. All Data Points for All States

Related Resources

Education Governance Dashboard
50-State Comparison: Postsecondary Education Funding
50-State Comparison: State Policies on Postsecondary Tuition Setting, Capping and Freezing
An Analysis of State Postsecondary Governance Structures
Statewide Changes to Postsecondary Governance in 2019
States Move to Restructure Their Postsecondary Governance Systems
Shaking Up the Decision-Making Channels in Postsecondary Education
50-State Comparison: K-12 Governance
50-State Comparison: Early Care and Education Governance


Nov. 9, 2020

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