State of Higher Education in 2017

Viewpoints, approaches and solutions to support your decision-making
Our sixth annual report provides in-depth knowledge and experienced-based insights on important developments and challenges facing higher education leadership, and how to position your institution for long-term success.

Latest thinking

Top-of-mind issues for nonprofit and higher ed leaders
Our commitment to the not-for-profit sector is reflected not only in the number of clients we serve, but also in our active support of and leadership in key industry associations and conferences aimed at strengthening not-for-profit organizational effectiveness and execution. We also demonstrate our industry leadership through our dedication to giving back to this community, by sharing our best-practice experience via forward-looking thought leadership, including publications, articles, presentations, webcasts and training.

Nonprofit board members

A guide for your stewardship

Nonprofit board members: Gain direction in your stewardship of mission, reputation and resources.

Higher education trustees

A guide for your stewardship

Higher ed trustees: Gain direction in your stewardship of mission, reputation and resources.

Nonprofit audit committee members

A guide for your guardianship

Nonprofit audit committee members: Gain direction in guarding reputation, integrity, financial credibility and viability.

Higher education audit committee members

A guide for your guardianship

Higher ed audit committee members: Gain direction in guarding reputation, integrity, financial credibility and viability.

UBI tax guide

Recognize, manage unrelated business income tax

Even tax-exempt organizations must sometimes pay income taxes; diagnose and measure unrelated business taxable income.

Funding strategies

Secure funding via strategy: Demonstrate effectiveness

Make funding maintenance and development part of your business strategy to demonstrate quality, mission effectiveness, constituent benefit and competitive advantage.

Keys to accreditation

A high-quality, balanced self-study

Accreditation provides quality assurance to stakeholders, with a self-study as its key requirement.

Financial performance

Improve communications and positioning to stakeholders

Learn about FASB’s ASU 2016-14; improve net asset classification and other information in your financial statements.

Insights to your inbox

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Subscribe to receive invitations to our latest educational forums and speaking engagements, articles and webcasts on current and emerging issues of interest to not-for-profit and higher education leaders.


2017 webcast series

Expand your knowledge of trends, best practices and developing issues
Our 2017 webcast series covers a wide variety of topics and regulatory updates affecting your organization. Five webcasts in the series are reserved exclusively as a benefit for our clients, in appreciation to those organizations that have chosen Grant Thornton to help meet their audit, tax and advisory needs. The remaining five are open to anyone associated with the not-for-profit and higher education sectors who may be interested in learning more about these important industry topics.

Mar 22, 2017

State of the not-for-profit and higher education sectors

These are anxious times for the not-for-profit and higher education sectors. We'll provide a sneak peek at creative ways to meet these challenges head-on.

Apr 19, 2017

Strengthening your nonprofit's brand

Your brand is more than just your name and logo — it’s the impression in the minds of everyone who is aware of your organization. In this exclusive Grant Thornton client webcast, we’ll discuss the benefits and challenges of building and maintaining a successful brand.

May 24, 2017

Accounting, regulatory, and uniform guidance update

We’ll cover the latest accounting and regulatory updates, with a focus on ASU 2016-14, the status of other current FASB projects, and hot topics including the new Lease and Revenue Recognition standards.

Jun 28, 2017

Using social media to further engagement

More not-for-profits are targeting younger donors in outreach and fundraising strategies, yet many organizations simply don’t know how to do so effectively. In this exclusive Grant Thornton client webcast, we’ll show you how.

Jul 19, 2017

Deferred compensation plan rules, real-world scenarios

Nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements maintained by not-for-profits are subject to special tax rules. We’ll focus on how to apply the rules to complex situations.

Aug 23, 2017

Implementing practical, sustainable ERM programs

As nonprofits begin implementing enterprise risk management programs, they turn to the popular literature for guidance. In this exclusive Grant Thornton client webcast, we’ll help you turn theory into practice.

Sep 20, 2017

Monitoring your image in a world of watchdogs

Donors are progressively reliant upon the ratings provided by charity watchdog agencies as a tool to evaluate nonprofit performance. We’ll discuss the criteria and methodology employed by major agencies, and the continuing challenges to effectively measure impact.

Oct 25, 2017

Risks accompanying benefits

With many not-for-profits being asked to do more with less, reliance on volunteers has become a strategic priority of executive leadership teams and boards. In this exclusive Grant Thornton client webcast, learn how to avoid the risks volunteers introduce.

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Helping nonprofits to deliver on their mission

Resources, skills, experience and knowledge
Grant Thornton has a well-earned reputation for understanding the needs of not-for-profit organizations, providing them with in-depth knowledge to improve their operations, seize opportunities, address challenges and mitigate risks. As we assist them to become more effective at what they do, the benefits cascade through all the communities they serve.

The not-for-profit sector is a strategic industry segment for our firm. More than 400 dedicated industry professionals serve the audit, tax and advisory needs of approximately 900 prestigious not-for-profit organizations. Our not-for-profit professionals provide our clients with information about relevant industry trends, and accounting and regulatory pronouncements; practical insights and recommendations; personal attention with timely, authoritative feedback; and high-quality service with measurable results. When we support our clients to deliver on their missions, we deliver on ours.

Sector contacts

Discuss your organization’s needs with one of our sector leaders
In order to best serve the unique needs of our not-for-profit clients, Grant Thornton’s Not-for-Profit and Higher Education practices are segmented into seven key sectors — associations and membership organizations, foundations, higher education, Jewish and Israeli organizations, museums and cultural institutions, religious organizations and social services organizations. The sector structure allows our professionals to develop deep knowledge specific to our not-for-profit clients’ individual business models.

Industry Managing Partner

Our Not-for-Profit and Higher Education practices are led by Mark Oster, who serves as the industry managing partner and has overall responsibility for services performed by the firm for these clients nationwide, along with all marketplace initiatives in these sectors.

Contact Mark Oster

Association and membership orgs

Professional, membership, industry and trade organizations are as diverse as the people they serve. We can help your association meet its unique challenges as well as those common throughout the industry — key among them being revenue, and membership growth and retention. We’ll assist you in developing viable strategies to fortify your association’s position, purpose and brand.

Contact Lisa Lipsky


Your foundation is as unique as the people and organizations that created it, whether established and managed by a single family or a major corporation, supporting the arts, community service or health care organizations. We can help your foundation improve organizational effectiveness, preserve and expand its endowments, and distribute grants and funds.

Contact Frank Giardini

Higher education

Fiscal responsibility and operational effectiveness have become as important as academic quality and other mission-related priorities. We can help your institution take advantage of the great potential for redefining its business models, implementing more robust enterprise risk management, collaborating with other institutions and private industry, and effecting substantial operational change.

Contact Cosmo Saginario

Jewish and Israeli organizations

As your Jewish and Israeli nonprofit serves the greater good, you also need to operate effectively and preserve your organization’s reputation. Our dedicated professionals assist with these priority needs and issues such as stewardship best practices and risk. To serve your international needs, our U.S. practice works closely with Grant Thornton Israel.

Contact Yossi Jayinski

Museum and cultural institutions

Your mission is to preserve a unique cultural heritage. Our job is to help you make it happen. Our nonprofit audit, tax and advisory professionals work with some of the largest cultural organizations in the country to build capacity, improve organizational effectiveness and develop accurate financial planning.

Contact Tom Brean

Religious organizations

As your religious organization serves your constituents, you are also working to deploy resources prudently and preserve your reputation. Our dedicated not-for-profit professionals know the ins and outs of the religious sector, including common challenges, typical risks and best practices that keep you on a successful path.

Contact Scott Steffens

Social services organizations

Social service organizations are facing significant financial and operational challenges, including reductions in public funding, flat donor activity and an increased demand for services. Our nonprofit professionals work closely with relief, community development, human services, wildlife protection and other agencies to improve organizational effectiveness. We provide a range of mission-critical financial, operational and fiduciary solutions.

Contact Randy Shrum

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