Governing Board Best Practices Project

empowering tens of thousands of trustees with information they need to be champions of college affordability.

The Governing Board Best Practices on College Affordability Project focuses on the affordability strategies of the governing boards of five U.S. higher education institutions or systems. The project seeks to explain the role governing board members play in bringing about affordability measures and their relationship with college executives and their agendas. Throughout this project, we collaborated with governing board members, college administrators, and faculty members, drawing from their testimonies and experiences in reducing costs at their own institutions to develop a roadmap for other trustees across the country to use in replicating their success.

In our first report, we look at some of the lowest hanging fruit in higher education today - the explosive cost of textbooks. The case study - Setting Audacious Goals and Policy to Eliminate Textbook Costs - focuses on its "Zero Textbook Cost" (ZTC) initiative, and he role its governing board played in driving implementation of this innovative, cost-saving measure for students.

Our second report - Raising Higher Education Quality Without Raising Tuition - focuses on how the Florida Board of Governors upended conventional industry wisdom with a tuition freeze, performance funding, and data transparency, catapulting Florida to top state in the nation for higher education for five years running, according to U.S. News and World Report.

This study of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees - How to Survive - and Thrive - Without Raising Tuition - focuses on how they have centered their public mission around affordability, using tuition freezes and data transparency to promote smarter financial decisions and guard against snowballing student costs. The study also highlights innovative approaches taken at one of the system’s universities – the University of Illinois Chicago – to generate a diversified revenue base during a tuition freeze.

In our fourth case study – Rightsizing College –  examines how Troy University leaders molded the university into an adaptive and affordable institution to meet the needs of its students and community.

In the final case study of the Governing Board Best Practices on College Affordability project – Reflecting Texas– learn how the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and one of the System's institutions –Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black university – demonstrate good financial stewardship and reduce financial barriers for students to better serve Texans.

State University System of Florida Board of Governors
Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, Prairie View A&M University
Troy University
Board of Trustees
University of Illinois Board of Trustees,
University of Illinois Chicago
West Hills Community College District
Board of Trustees
This project was made possible by generous funding from the ECMC Foundation and the Michelson 20MM Foundation.