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National Profile of Higher Education Chief Business Officers Released


(Washington, DC) – New results from a demographic survey of chief business officers depict who is leading the business and finance offices at U.S. colleges and universities, as well as the work they conduct, their career plans, and their job satisfaction.

The National Profile of Higher Education Chief Business Officers (CBO Profile) has been conducted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) four times since 2010, and this year includes responses from CBOs at 401 U.S. colleges and universities. Findings include –

  • Of all respondents, 87 percent identify as white, non-Hispanic, down from 92 percent in 2010.
  • 60 percent identify as male, down from 67 percent in 2016; and 39 percent identify as female, up from 33 percent in 2016.
  • 99 percent of CBOs said they are responsible for their institution’s budget and financial planning, 97 percent oversee controller duties, and 82 percent have bursar responsibilities.
  • Nearly two thirds of CBOs said they have taken concrete steps to reduce or eliminate racial or ethnic differences in student outcomes at their institutions.
  • 92 percent of respondents report being “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their jobs, up from 87 percent in 2016.
  • About 42 percent of CBOs report their next career step is retirement, with 51 percent saying they expect to retire in the next three years.

“With its myriad data points, the CBO Profile project offers an important glimpse into who is leading higher education business offices,” says Randy Roberson, vice president of leadership development at NACUBO. “We are heartened to see progress in diversity over time, which has been a focus of NACUBO’s professional development programs, and we look forward to continuing to help current CBOs thrive in their positions and equip future CBOs with the tools they’ll need to succeed, too.”

The 2021 National Profile of Higher Education Chief Business Officers was supported in part by a generous sponsorship from TIAA and is available at no cost online.

NACUBO, founded in 1962, is a nonprofit professional organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the country. NACUBO works to advance the economic vitality, business practices, and support of higher education institutions in pursuit of their missions.


Katy McCreary

Director, Public Relations