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The NACUBO National Profile of Higher Education Chief Business Officers is a periodic survey series that tracks changes in the demographic characteristics, job duties, salary levels, and plans for career transitions of business office chief executives at U.S. colleges and universities. The report helps to depict who higher education chief business and financial officers are, how they got to where they are, what they do every day to make their jobs and their institutions better, and what they hope to do in the future.

The 2021 National Profile of Higher Education Chief Business Officers analyzes responses from 401 higher education CBOs at NACUBO member and non-member institutions. Survey information from these respondents show that men continue to account for the majority of business office chief executives, but women are increasingly achieving this role. In 2021, roughly 39 percent of CBOs who provided their gender information identified as female, up from 33 percent in 2016.

While women make up a rising share of the CBOs, some noticeable gender differences remain. Women are more likely to be employed at campuses with smaller student enrollments. In addition, about 45 percent of female CBOs reported earning an annual salary less than $150,000, compared to 31 percent of male CBOs.

There has been some progress in the hiring of CBOs of color. In 2021, 87 percent of surveyed CBOs identified as white, non-Hispanic, compared with 92 percent in 2010.

The 2021 study also provides a first-ever look at higher education CBOs’ involvement in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) activities on their campuses. Nearly two in three CBOs (63 percent) said they have taken concrete steps to reduce or eliminate racial and ethnic differences in student outcomes at their institutions. In addition, nearly 76 percent of respondents reported that their colleges and universities are investing more in DEI compared to five years ago.

The 2021 NACUBO National Profile of Higher Education Chief Business Officers was sponsored by TIAA and is available for no charge from the NACUBO online bookstore. A press release is also available.


Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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