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American College President Study

December 30, 1899


ACPS 2017 Summary Data

The American College President Study 2017 (ACPS) is the eighth edition of the leading and most comprehensive study of the college presidency and the higher education leadership pipeline from all types of institutions, public and private, two- and four-year. The 2017 edition was produced by ACE in partnership with the TIAA Institute​.

The ACPS contains data on presidential demographics, search and selection processes, career trajectories, and the duties and responsibilities of college and university chief executive officers. For the first time, the report also examines the views of presidents in three key areas: diversity and inclusion; state funding and political climate; and areas of importance for the future.

  • The profile of a typical U.S. college or university president is slowly changing, but it continues to be a white male in his early 60s with a doctoral degree who has been in his current position​ for seven years.

  • The percentage of women holding the top job at colleges and universities stood at 30 percent in 2016, up just four percentage points from 2011.

  • The percentage of college presidents who were minorities also increased by four percentage points, from 13 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2016.​​

  • The most common road to the presidency continues to be the traditional route of academic affairs (43 percent).

The latest edition derives from a 2016 survey of over 1,500 college and university presidents nationwide.

​The ACPS Data Tool

New this year is an interactive data explorer that will allow users to understand when higher education might anticipate reaching gender and racial/ethnic parity in the presidency. 

The “Looking Ahead” feature uses historical data from the ACPS to calculate when the percentage of women presidents and the percentages of minority presidents will mirror their representation in the general U.S. population. Users can engage with the data and create their own deep-dives to understand how specific growth scenarios play out over time. 

To see this and more, including data in key areas of the report and to easily download charts, tables and data points to print or share directly to social media channels, click here​.​


Please direct questions or inquiries about the American College President Study 2017 to ACE's Center for Policy Research and Strategy​, at

​​​​​​​​​​​For media inquiries, please contact Kelli Meyer, ACE Office of Public Affairs, at​​​​​​​​​​.​​​​​​

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