An update from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) provides an in-depth look at fiscal year 2022 SHEEO agency staff size, operating budgets, and functions performed. SHEEO represents the executive officers of statewide governing and coordinating/policy boards responsible for overseeing higher education in their state. The SHEEO agency is the public entity tasked with overseeing higher education within its respective state and is led by a state higher education executive officer (SHEEO). Some states have multiple SHEEO agencies that cover different sectors (e.g., technical colleges, community colleges, and universities) or programs (e.g., state department or office), but most states have only one agency. SHEEO has 61 members representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The Membership Report uses data collected through survey responses from SHEEO agencies across the country. Responses from FY 2022 include data about the impacts of COVID-19 and information from Northern Marianas College for the first time. The FY 2022 Report uses data collected in the fall and winter of 2022. Fifty-seven SHEEO agencies completed the survey—a response rate of 93%. This report includes the largest response rate since SHEEO first administered the survey in 1966.
Key findings from the latest report include:
- Variations exist between state funding among coordinating/policy boards and governing boards. Only half of coordinating/policy board budgets came from state funding, compared to nearly 70% for governing boards. On average, coordinating/policy boards have 22% less funding per staff FTE from the state than governing boards.
- The most common functions among all agency types include academic planning, program approval, and program review functions; communications and government relations for higher education; state-level coordination; institutional oversight; and budgeting and fiscal policy analysis for higher education. SHEEO agencies are still performing many functions with limited staffing and budget support that may not match the breadth of their work.
- Low levels of representation of people of color exist at the SHEEO level. Forty-one SHEEOs identify as White, six as Black or African American, three as Hispanic or Latino, two as American Indian or Alaska Native, two as Asian or Asian American, and one as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
- The most common senior leadership positions, shared by almost all SHEEO agencies, are financial officer (98%), academic officer (95%), and communications officer (87%). The least common positions across all agencies are equity and diversity officer (40%) and development officer (20%). Among these senior leadership positions, there are disproportionately fewer people of color or those who identify as female in senior positions.
- Examining the data by agency type, 78% of governing board SHEEOs are male compared to 72% of coordinating/policy board SHEEOs. While the majority of SHEEO agency staff are female, the majority of SHEEO agency senior leadership are male. There were four senior leadership positions that had 50% or more females, such as academic officer (56%), communications officer (61%), research officer (57%), and equity and diversity officer (60%). For males in leadership, the top positions include development officer (58%), financial officer (70%), technology officer (64%), and general counsel (50%).
“The elements of the data included in this report are increasingly important as states continue to pursue their higher education agendas and advocate for adequate support,” said SHEEO President Robert Anderson. “Agencies need to have this information to help evaluate how they can best serve their state populations, while also pursuing new programs and functions. These data ultimately describe the complex and varied nature of SHEEO agencies.”
The Membership Report website features additional resources for analysis, including downloadable agency-level data and dynamic agency profiles for an individualized lens. Learn more at https://sheeo.org/project/sheeo-membership-report/.
The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) serves the executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education and their staffs. Founded in 1954, SHEEO promotes an environment that values higher education and its role in ensuring the equitable education of all Americans, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic factors. Together with its members, SHEEO aims to achieve this vision by equipping state higher education executive officers and their staffs with the tools to effectively advance the value of higher education, promoting public policies and academic practices that enable all Americans to achieve success in the 21st century, and serving as an advocate for state higher education leadership. For more information, visit sheeo.org.