Board Responsibility for Equitable Student Success

Board Roles and Responsibilities

Ensuring the institution’s fiscal integrity, preserving and protecting its ​assets for posterity, and engaging directly in fundraising and philanthropy

  • Boards must be good stewards of fiscal, reputational, and personnel assets as they work to operationalize strategic plans.
  • The budget is the manifestation of the strategic plan​.
  • Investing in equitable student success has a high rate of return; equitable student success is good for the present and long-term stability of the institution and should not just be considered a moral imperative.

Action Items

  • Align the budget with equity goals.
  • Invest in and approve spending that advances student success equitably.
  • Make every effort to retain all students (it’s easier to retain a current student than to recruit another student)​.

Metrics and Assessment Tactics

  • The ability to recruit and retain a diverse student body that reflects changing demographics is closely tied to the financial well-being of an institution (Eckel & Trower, 2016).
  • Look at the budget over the years to see how resources have been used. The budget is the manifestation of the institution’s strategic plan, mission, and values.​
  • Assess full funding support for equity-related matters in comparison with other needs.

Questions to Pose

  • How have we invested in student success this year? What is the cost of failed retention and graduation?​
  • How do our priorities for facility use and new construction reflect our values and support equitable student success?​
  • Have programs and initiatives geared toward advancing equity received needed funding and support? ​
  • Are our fundraising and student success goals aligned?​
  • Where will additional resources have the greatest impact to achieve priority goals for equitable student success?​
  • What is an acceptable level of debt for our students? How can we reimagine the cost of attendance?​
  • What are the data on two-year transfer students? What will it take to improve their outcomes? ​

What does success look like?

Since every stakeholder, program, and decision influences or is impacted by institutional finances, strong finances facilitate a strong future for the institution (ACCT, 2021).

Budget decisions are informed by strategy to address student needs and promote success of all students.

Budget decisions are informed by data about the results of efforts to enhance student success.

An Institutional Example:

University of Central Florida logo

University of Central Florida

Additional resources to raise retention and graduation of transfer students

An Institutional Example:

Saint Mary's College - Notre Dame, IN - logo

Saint Mary’s College

Every new equity and inclusion initiative receives funding or fundraising support from the board and the Advancement Division.​