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American Council on Education Membership

Why Join?

As a member of ACE, you join more than 1,600 college and university presidents and executives at related associations, institutions and organizations that collectively promote, protect, and advocate for students, faculty and administrators in higher education. ACE is the major coordinating body for the nation’s higher education institutions, and is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private, nonprofit and for-profit. We are at the center of federal policy debates concerning legislation that affects campuses across the country, and regularly convene representatives from all sectors to respond with one clear voice on vital issues affecting institutions and students, provide leadership on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.

In addition, you will have access to some of the best leadership development programs, policy analysis, research briefs and peer-to-peer seminars and meetings, all of which will help you and your staff become more effective campus leaders, ready to meet current challenges.

Who Can Join?

ACE offers several opportunities to join:

  • Members include accredited, degree-granting institutions and systems. A national and regional association whose primary mission is higher education may also join.
  • Associates are branch campuses, accreditation candidates, international higher education institutions, and international organizations that are concerned with higher education.
  • The Alliance Program encompasses corporations and foundations who wish to support higher education and be connected with current trends, topics and leaders. 
  • The Executive Search Roundtable helps support ACE's goal of strengthening leadership in higher education.

Membership Criteria

Institutional Membership

American Council on Education (ACE) institutional membership is open to all United States degree-granting colleges and universities that are accredited by a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)-recognized accrediting agency. Affiliate membership is available to U.S. degree-granting institutions that are accepted candidates for accreditation by a CHEA-recognized accrediting agency. System offices are also eligible for membership. In most cases, the chief executives of these institutions represent their campuses in all ACE activities.

Non-Institutional Membership

ACE membership is open to the following sectors:

  • National and regional education associations
  • International members (degree-granting colleges and universities or higher education associations that are recognized by an appropriate national authority and based outside of the United States and its territories)
  • System members (the head office of a university system where each campus is individually accredited and eligible for ACE membership)

In most cases, the chief executives of these institutions represent their organizations in all ACE activities.

Who Are Our Members?

ACE's strength lies in its diverse and loyal membership base. Our members come from every sector of higher education, including two-year and four-year, public and private institutions. Of our over 1,700 members, more than 75% have been affiliated with ACE for more than 10 years. To see a complete list, visit our Membership Directory.

Hear representatives from each type of institution we serve explain why they belong to ACE.

Four-Year Public Institutions

Diana Natalicio

President, University of Texas at El Paso
"ACE is special because it cuts across all [educational] sectors; independent institutions, public instititions, community colleges, so all of us have the opportunity to come together around issues important to the students we serve. Therefore, for us, I believe ACE has been a great investment."

Watch Video >>

Four-Year Public Systems

Nancy Zimpher

Chancellor, State University of New York System
"Institutionally, the State University of New York is very unique. We're a big system with all sectors under one umbrella. This is like one-stop shopping. I can put all the sector needs into one basket under ACE. This is a wonderful place for systems to be connected."

Watch Video >>

Community Colleges

Sandy Shugart

President, Valencia College
"I'm counting on the Council, as a matter of fact, as we try to adjust to post-traditional students. It's a big part of our strategy at the college to begin to pay more attention to the adult market and returning veterans."

Watch Video >>

Judy Miner

Chancellor, Foothill College
"I belong to ACE because of its decades-long commitment to diversity in the workforce. I think the leadership development aspect of ACE is absolutely stunning."

Watch Video >>

Four-Year Private Institutions

Richard Pappas

President, Davenport University
"This is the most valuable organization in higher education. It's the only organization that brings in community colleges, independents, and four-year public and privates to work on common problems together."

Watch Video >>


ACE Brochure

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ACE is the leading national association coordinating legislative representation on Capitol Hill and amicus curiae briefs and position papers supporting our members in the courts. Our respected, authoritative media outreach ensures that news organizations understand our current positions and efforts.

We will keep you informed of all of our efforts through weekly electronic newsletters President to President and Higher Education and National Affairs (HENA). Periodic webinars provide a more thorough examination of trends that you need to know.

Previous Advocacy Activity

  • HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    The Hechinger Report looks at the Democratic Party’s higher education platform as the party’s convention opens in Philadelphia, and Inside Higher Ed explores the higher education record of Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate. In other news, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the National Center for Campus Public Safety’s first conference, held last week at George Washington University.

  • White House

    Department of Education Proposes Rules on Oversight of Online Courses

    ​The Department of Education today published proposed regulations on state authorization requirements for postsecondary distance education, outlining how colleges and universities that offer online education programs to students in other states should be regulated.

  • Seton Hall University

    ACE Memo Outlines Rules Governing Political Activity on Campus

    ACE’s memo on Political Campaign-Related Activities of and at Colleges and Universities can help campuses learn more about the appropriate ways to become involved in elections.

  • Stack of papers

    House Approves Five Higher Education Bills

    ​The House has passed five higher education bills that aim to improve the financial aid process, enhance consumer information and strengthen federal programs that support the work of minority-serving institutions.


Leadership Programs

ACE will help you and your staff become more effective leaders through our highly-rated leadership development programs. We offer comprehensive, year-long institutes such as Institute for New Presidents, Institute for New Chief Academic Officers, and the prestigious ACE Fellows programs. Workshops are also available for campus executives such as the Leadership Academy for Department Chairs and Advancing to the Presidency. Only ACE offers such a broad range of programs.

More ACE Leadership Programs





You will stay ahead of current issues and trends through ACE's research and analysis. ACE's Center for Policy Analysis produces quantitative and qualitative studies on key issues and topics in higher education. Periodic studies such as the American College President 2012 give you insight into the opportunities and challenges faced by your peers, while focused analyses on diversity, veterans, and other topics may contribute to strategic decisions on your campus.

More ACE Research





You will receive our quarterly magazine The Presidency, written exclusively for university and college presidents and chancellors. The magazine focuses on critical issues facing your campuses as well as provides a forum for the exchange of ideas among higher education leaders. 

You will also have access to all of ACE's studies, books, and other publications through the ACE bookstore.

Dues Structure

Membership Dues

ACE institutional rates are based on full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment and general expenditure (GE). This information is downloaded from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). All system offices, associations, and branches are billed at a fixed rate. If two-thirds of a system’s campuses are ACE members, the system receives a complimentary membership.​

Disclaimer: These dues charts are for informational use only. Please contact ACE’s Membership Department at 202-939-9340 or for detailed information about membership pricing.

Membership Directory

​Search our Membership Directory.

Purchase our Mailing List (members only).

Membership Directory

Search the ACE Membership Directory
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Alliance Program

The Alliance Program strengthens the connection between the business community and higher education, bringing together leaders in both sectors to address key issues our institutions face today. ACE member institutions serve 80% of today’s college students.

ACE provides Alliance Program members with insight and timely information about the higher education industry that helps you understand how to better serve campuses throughout the country.

In turn, your support helps sustain ACE programs:

  • Executive Leadership – for presidents and other senior leaders
  • Emerging Leaders – for rising leaders across all higher education sectors
  • Inclusive Excellence – fostering greater diversity and inclusivity in higher education leadership
  • Institutional Leadership Group – services for member institutions
  • Center for Lifelong Learning – for nontraditional learners, including veterans, and the institutions serving them
  • Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement – connecting U.S. higher education institutions and students to the world


Member Benefits
Stay in touch with the issues affecting your clients and partners:
  • Complimentary subscription to ACE’s weekly electronic newsletters President to President and Higher Education and National Affairs
  • Complimentary subscription to our quarterly member magazine, The Presidency, including 15% discount on advertising

Be recognized for your support and thought leadership in higher education:

  • Recognition in ACE Annual Report and the Annual Meeting Final Program
  • Recognition on ACE’s web site, including a hyperlink to your corporate website
  • Recognition in selected marketing communications sent to all ACE members


Special Opportunities
Offered at each level of membership in addition to those listed above.
Affiliate  $5,500 – $9,999
One complimentary registration to ACE’s Annual Meeting, including a 10% discount on exhibit booth space
Priority Consideration to Sponsor a Focus Zone at the ACE Annual Meeting, which provide sponsors the opportunity to showcase their work with higher education institutions by making 30-minute presentations for Annual Meeting attendees.  Limited opportunities provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional fees apply.
Advocate  $10,000 – $24,999
Alliance Program Thought Leadership
Feature a case study of your recent work with ACE member institutions, introduce a new solution, or share thought leadership on higher education topics of interest to senior level campus executives.
Leadership Circle $25,000 – $500,000 and above
Levels tailored to meet your company’s marketing and engagement goals. Opportunities may include:
  • Exclusive sponsorship in areas of mutual interest
  • Participation with higher education leaders in sponsored programs
  • Contributing expertise or content to selected programs
  • Recognition in print materials or selected publications

Partner $25,000 – $49,999
Investor $50,000 – $99,999
Patron $100,000 – $199,999
Underwriter $200,000 – $499,999
Visionary $500,000 and above


Executive Search Roundtable

The ACE Executive Search Roundtable was established in 1985 as a means of addressing the mutual interests of ACE and executive search firms in the continuing identification of talented leaders for our nation's colleges and universities.

The Roundtable exists to support ACE in its continuing efforts to:

  • Improve the quality of leadership in higher education.
  • Diversify that leadership in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity.
  • Promote the highest standards in the process of search and selection.
  • Educate the higher education community about search processes with or without the use of consultants.
ESR members agree to:
  • Subscribe to the highest standards of integrity and principles of quality, diversity, equity, and ethical practice.
  • Affirm commitment to conducting equitable searches to foster diversity and the highest quality of leadership for the educational community.
  • Assist candidates in understanding the role of the consultant in the search process.
  • Ensure that client institutions provide search consultants and candidates with all relevant and current data, including financial information, that is needed in the search.
  • Respect the confidentiality of clients and candidates and obtain client approval before sharing information.

The ESR is composed of organizations, both not-for-profit and for-profit, that specialize in higher education executive search. Member firms, and the consultants who represent them, serve colleges, universities, and related not-for-profit institutions and organizations by providing executive search, recruitment, and related consulting services to assist institutions in their searches for senior leadership positions.

Benefits of the Executive Search Roundtable and the Alliance Program
Members of the Executive Search Roundtable are participants in the ACE Alliance Program and benefit from those signature services. In addition, ESR benefits include:
  • Dedicated section on the ACE website where your firm is listed with contact information, a link to your web site, and a short summary of your firm's specialized searches.
  • An ACE-hosted annual ESR meeting where you can meet and network with colleagues from more than 30 executive search firms.