The CCCU is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in the historic district of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.. The Council also owns facilities in Oxford, England, for its Oxford student programmes and San Jose, Costa Rica, for its Latin American Studies Program. The CCCU leases spaces for the remaining Best Semester student programs around the world (see below). In 1989, the Council purchased the townhouse adjacent to The Dellenback Center for guest housing in its Capitol Hill location. In 1999, the Council purchased and renovated an existing townhouse to use as its main headquarters. The original two-story townhouse was constructed in the 1850s and is one of the few remaining wooden clapboard structures on Capitol Hill. It is within walking distance to Union Station, the Capitol and the Washington Mall.
In 1976, presidents of colleges in the Christian College Consortium called a meeting in Washington, D.C. to organize a Coalition for Christian Colleges that could expand the objectives of the consortium. Representatives from 38 colleges participated in the founding meeting to establish a new organization to provide a unified voice representing the interests and concerns of Christian colleges to government decision makers and the general public. The Coalition and the Consortium shared facilities until 1982, when the Consortium relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota and the Coalition formally incorporated as an independent organization. In 1995, the organization changed its name to the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities; in 1999 it changed again to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
In September 2014, Shirley V. Hoogstra, J.D., was named the Council's seventh president. Before that, she was the vice president for student life at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after having served for four years on Calvin’s Board of Trustees. While at Calvin, Hoogstra also served as a cabinet member who became familiar with team building, campus-wide planning and communications. She was also the co-host of Inner Compass, a nationally televised show on PBS. She has served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles for CCCU institutes and commissions, and is the Council's first female president. The previous president, Edward O. Blews Jr., served from January 1, 2013, to October 22, 2013. William P. Robinson, former president of Whitworth University, was named the interim president before Hoogstra was appointed. Most of the 17 members of the board of directors are presidents of member institutions. The chair is James H. Barnes III, president of Bethel University.
With a $13 million budget, 65 employees and hundreds of volunteer leaders, the CCCU provides more than 100 programs and services to fulfill the Council's mission and to meet the needs of Christ-centered colleges and universities. These include student global education opportunities, and many professional development opportunities for its members throughout the year, such as annual gatherings for its college and university presidents, and annual conferences for member Chief Institutional Development Officers; Communication, Marketing and Media Officers; Chief Enrollment Officers; Chief Financial Officers; Campus Ministry Directions, and other leadership development programs. Other member services include webinars, grant-making opportunities for scholarship and research, discipline specific forums, networking communities, a tuition waver exchange program, and an online career center. Members also receive access to the Council's biannual magazine called CCCU ADVANCE, as well as regular news updates, website resources on scholarship, and information related to Christian higher education policy and issues.
The CCCU administers a number of student study programs around the world through its Best Semester programs. More than 700 students take part in these academic programs each year. Students of CCCU member institutions have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs that include course work, field experiences, cross cultural events and internships in Australia, Latin America, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Oxford, England, and Uganda. There is also a public affairs program and a journalism program in Washington, D.C., a contemporary music program in Nashville, and a film studies program in Los Angeles. A program in Russia operated from 1994 to 2010.