The American College Application Campaign® (ACAC), an effort of the American Council on Education, is a national initiative designed to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students who pursue a postsecondary education. The purpose is to assist high school seniors as they navigate the college admissions process and ensure each participating student submits at least one admissions application.
The Campaign is conducted state by state and is typically held for one week in early November. However, there may be variations to the scheduled week in order to accommodate the individual needs of a state. After submitting the admissions application, students register for their FSA ID and are provided with the date of their state’s FAFSA Day or College Goal event to ensure they complete the admissions process and apply for financial aid.
The first College Application Day was held at a GEAR UP North Carolina high school in Siler City, NC in November 2005. The next year it expanded to 15 high schools, then to 109 high schools in 2007. By 2010, at least 470 NC high schools participated in the state’s College Application Week program annually. Additionally, by the same year, the program had spread to five southern states and Colorado. A planning grant was provided by Lumina Foundation in 2011 along with a programmatic expansion grant by the Kresge Foundation. In November 2011, 3 new states piloted the effort. Since then, the program has grown annually to include more states, more high schools, and more students nationally. The program has now expanded to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Based on data reported by states to date, during the fall 2016 campaign, more than 5,700 high schools hosted college application events nationally which resulted in around 440,000 seniors submitting over 740,000 college applications. As of now, this represents approximately an 18 percent increase in the number of participating high schools from 2015. ACAC has established the goal of reaching 7,000 high schools nationally during the 2017 campaign.
In October 2010, a group of interested individuals began discussions of how the program might be broadened to include other states. The Campaign Steering Committee included the following individuals who, at the time, represented the following organizations:
||Illinois Board of Higher Education|
|Molly Corbett Broad
||American Council on Education|
||United States Department of Education|
||The Education Trust|
||American Council on Education|
||New York University|
||National Governors Association|
||Council of Chief State School Officers|
||State Higher Education Executive Officers|
||Lumina Foundation for Education|
||White House Domestic Policy Council|
The American College Application Campaign is extremely grateful for the guidance, support, and insight provided by its Advisory Council. The Council met on a quarterly basis to guide the implementation of Campaign programs nationally. The Advisory Council included the following individuals who, at the time, represented the following organizations:
||Get Schooled Foundation|
||Delaware State University|
||College Advising Corps|
|Lisa Sommer King
||Michigan College Access Network|
|Caroline Altman Smith
||The Kresge Foundation|
||American School Counselor Association|
||Association for Institutional Research|
||Tennessee College Access & Success Network|
||Georgia Board of Regents|
American College Application Campaign Staff
For questions about the American College Application Campaign, please reach out to one of our team members directly. Or, you may contact the team through the ACAC@act.org email address.
Partners and Sponsors
Through the generous funding provided by the following foundations and organizations, the ACAC team is able to provide free technical assistance and training to states implementing a Campaign program: