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NACUBO is uniquely positioned to lead conversations about the current state of higher education—and to help bridge the seemingly disconnected discussions policymakers and the general public are having about student loan debt, college costs, and free college with the strategic conversations administrators and trustees are having about revenue demands, business models, and what it takes to deliver on educational demands.

This year, NACUBO is sharing our 2019 Perceptions and Priorities.

Our goal is to both drive and improve the national conversation around higher education, supporting our observations with research on the current state of affairs for students and institutions.

A slide deck accompanies our paper, allowing readers to further consider the data and to share the charts, graphs, and images to engage others in meaningful discussions about what it takes to deliver a college education in 2019 and to plan for the future. Endnotes are also available.


Our 2019 statement is premised on the following:

Higher education dividends are strong but complex challenges lie ahead:

  • Household income is not keeping pace with the costs of college access;
  • Providing quality higher education requires significant investment; and
  • Higher education provides opportunity for upward mobility and a lifetime of value.

As we prepare to correct, improve, and sustain the higher education sector, we call on NACUBO members, policymakers, and others to consider the following broad priorities:

  • Equity and affordability must be a demonstrated core value.
  • Innovation and effectiveness should not throttle quality or do harm. 
  • Higher education must be regarded as an outstanding investment.


“We call on institutions to reflect not just on their revenue models, but on the broader impact their budgetary decisions have on measures of equity and affordability. We call on business officers to ensure they are keeping students in mind in their efforts to establish new revenue streams and cost savings, and to be transparent in ways that educate stakeholders. We call on policymakers to continue to invest in higher education, robustly, and to be smart when crafting accountability measures—enhancing institutions’ ability to deliver quality rather than holding them back with needless red tape.”

2019 Perceptions and Priorities, NACUBO


Liz Clark

Senior Director, Federal Affairs



Matt Hamill

Senior Vice President, Advocacy, Research and Communications


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