Comparative Analysis of Public Higher Education Governance

Providence (November 2019) – Today, the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council released “Governing Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Public Higher Education in Rhode Island.”

“Governing Higher Education” considers the structure of higher education in Rhode Island through historic and regional context. It does so on the heels of the governance reorganization that is presently underway at URI, where a newly established and independent board of trustees is set to commence oversight functions in February 2020. The reorganization of systems of governance underway at URI presents an opportunity for state policymakers to consider the structure of higher education governance in Rhode Island and how state governance may be aligned between institutions and with statewide education goals. In other words, how should CCRI and RIC be governed in relation to each other and URI? This report lays the groundwork for answering that question by breaking down the relationship between the state’s public postsecondary institutions and contextualizing the nature of higher education governance in the Ocean State through comparative analysis. 

More specifically, this RIPEC report includes a(n):

  • Analysis of how Article 9 of Rhode Island’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget alters the governance structure of URI and the functions of the Council on Postsecondary Education
  • Breakdown of each of Rhode Island’s three public institutions of higher education, including each institution’s history, mission, admittance and staffing data, student demographics, cost, and degree offerings
  • History of public higher education governance in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first century 
  • Breakdown of higher education governance structures in current use in the United States, with greater detail regarding governance structures in Northeastern states
  • Analysis of research that addresses the effects of higher education governance models on student outcomes, tuition costs, institutional funding, and research productivity
  • Review of recommendations for governance restructuring from the Education Commission of the States 

“RIPEC’s aim is to help policymakers make informed decisions regarding higher education by providing a full depiction of how governance structures have functioned in Rhode Island, across the United States, and over time,” remarked RIPEC President and CEO John C. Simmons. 

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