Mission. Founded in 1952, Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) is a network of 23 private, nonprofit, residential colleges and universities. ACI works with business and community leaders to help low-income, minority, and first-generation students persist and succeed in college and to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of independent higher education.
Collaborative Model. ACI was conceived as a collaborative enterprise to secure public and private funding to support the distinctive brand of higher education offered by Illinois’ smaller, mission-driven private colleges. One of more than 30 similar state funds around the United States — all members of the Council of Independent Colleges — ACI has raised more than $70 million since it was founded to strengthen its member institutions and create new opportunities for the students they serve. For example, since 1990, ACI’s Scholarship Program has awarded more than $7 million to make it possible for more than 3,000 undergraduate students to begin or continue their studies at ACI colleges and universities.
College Constituency. Associated Colleges of Illinois serves a robust network of 23 member private, nonprofit, primarily residential colleges and universities. These institutions sustain an enduring commitment to mission-driven, liberal arts-based higher education in small, supportive environments that cultivate a sense of community — and where faculty make teaching their first priority. Collectively, ACI institutions enroll 58,000 undergraduate and graduate students at colleges and universities ranging in size from 550 to 5,800 students, many of whom are low-income, minority, and/or first in their families to pursue higher education. Once exclusively undergraduate-serving institutions, today, many ACI member offer a variety of graduate programs.
Enduring Value. ACI colleges offer excellent value. More than 93% of students enrolled at member institutions receive financial aid, resulting in an average net price of $19,179 – with many students paying far less. And while ACI colleges enroll a population of low-income students roughly comparable to Illinois’ public institutions, they are more productive than Illinois publics: The number of students completing degrees after four years is 18.5 percentage points higher at ACI colleges than at Illinois’ four-year publics.
Problem-Solving Programs. ACI programs address some of the nation’s most pressing education challenges, including helping motivated low-income, first-generation and minority students succeed in college through ACI’s Peer Mentoring Program and Scholarship Program.
Associated Colleges of Illinois’ distinguished history is documented in a comprehensive book first published in 2002 during ACI’s 50th anniversary celebration and supplemented in 2012 to include the crucial decade from 2002 to 2012, when ACI transitioned from collaborative fundraising alone, to fundraising plus collaborative problem-solving.
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Associated Colleges of Illinois submits its financial records to an independent audit each year.
The Winter 2016 issue focuses on two ACI member colleges and their presidents: Illinois College President Barbara A. Farley and Eureka College President Jamel Santa Cruze Wright. ACI’s expanded Peer Mentoring Program is highlighted through mentors and mentees at Quincy University. Read also about ACI Corporate Partner Baker Tilly and its consulting work with colleges on financial and operational issues. Learn about ACI’s 2015-2016 Annual Report, Judson University, our 23rd member, new board members, a matching grant from the Council of Independent Colleges to benefit our Peer Mentoring Program and upcoming events in 2017.
Learn about new programs and accomplishments at Associated Colleges of Illinois and our member colleges and universities.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
ACI’s Board of Trustees includes the presidents of all ACI member colleges and universities, together with nearly 30 Corporate Trustees drawn from the leadership of Illinois’ business, civic, and non-profit sectors.
Associated Colleges of Illinois is supported by a dedicated professional staff, including specialists in non-profit management and finance, institutional advancement, marketing/communications, special events, and specific program areas, including student support services and teacher preparation.