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What is a college board?

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Wondering what is a college board and what do they do? Read on ...

Wondering what is a college board and what do they do? Read on …

Every college has a board, just as all high schools, middle schools, elementary schools and primary schools have a board of education and a superintendent, which is comparable to the president of a college.

So what is a college board? What do they do?

A board is necessary so that the college or university can be governed effectively and efficiently. The board is a non-profit entity and is sometimes called a board of Regents, board of trustees or board of visitors. The board functions as the owner of the school, meaning that it has the ability and authority to define the goals and missions of the school it is governing and then sets out to accomplish these objectives. The board is deemed the legal owner of the college’s assets. 

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A college board consists of trustees, including an elected or appointed board chair, secretary and/or treasurer all of whom work together to support the mission of the college. The board routinely studies the performance of the college to see if changes or improvements need to be made. Other functions required of the board members include fundraising for the college.

Being a member of a college board or a board of education is serious business and is not to be taken lightly. The board is the bottom line when it comes to maintaining the financial well-being of the institution in question.

Additionally, the board chooses who the president of the university is going to be or who the school superintendent is. Making a bad choice can lead a school down the wrong path which, of course, is certainly not the desire of the board, so its members must choose very wisely when it comes to who is going to be at the helm.

Before new policies are implemented at a college, the board must first approve of them. 


Although the college president manages the daily operations of the school, he reports to the board on a monthly basis or however, frequently the board is mandated to meet and discusses what has been going on and how issues have been handled. The president talks about both the positive and negative occurrences on campus.

A college board that is kept current on the climate at the school and on campus is better able to do its job because the members are keeping their fingers on the pulse of the school community. To be an effective board member, the person must be interested in the college and its future as well as its current crop of students. Often, board members are former students of the college. 

The documents that govern the college in general determine the size of the board. Some boards are small with only a few members whereas other can consist of more than 50 board members.

A college board is preferably a diverse group of people who represent different elements in the community. It is certainly helpful if the board members are active members in the community. A board member’s position enables him to promote the college to those who are not affiliated with the school. 

The board consists of trustees who are appointed. Some colleges opt to make a person a life trustee. This can be done if the college in an independent entity. State colleges and universities as well as religious colleges and universities receive appointments from religious organizations as well as the governor of the state.

The school’s charter determines how much authority the board has. The structure can be modified if there is a need. 


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