USRA's governance is grounded in its broad university membership. Each member university of USRA appoints a representative to serve on a Council of Institutions (COI). The member institutions are divided into nine regional groups, headed by an appointed regional secretary. The COI establishes bylaws and elects a Board of Trustees. The current Council of Institutions Chair is Dr. Robert Holzworth; the Vice-Chair is Dr. Steven Ackerman.
The Board has 15 members, including nine regional trustees, one for each of nine regional groups of the member universities, and four at-large trustees. The Trustees appoint the President. The President and the chair of the COI serve on the board, ex-officio. Each Trustee serves a three-year term.
USRA has a Science Council for discipline areas in which it operates. Each Council has a membership of six to nine. Members are drawn from outside of USRA and are appointed by the Trustees, based upon significant standing within their respective fields. The Science Councils provide independent advice to the President and institute and program directors. The Science Councils provide respective communities a means to review and assess USRA activities, as well as advise on future directions. Each Council meets annually, or as appropriate.