American Independent College and University Association and its impact on American education

Most of the six core associations of American higher education were established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They represent different types of American university groups, and their members cover almost all types of universities and colleges in the United States.

NAICU is the youngest member of the six core associations of American college education. Independent colleges and universities in the United States refer to private non-profit colleges and universities. Most of them are affiliated with associations with common purposes and positioning. NAICU is a typical representative of this type of higher education association.

I. Establishing background and historical development

The establishment of the NAICU dates back to the Association of American Colleges (AAC) established in Chicago in 1915. At the beginning of the 20th century, small colleges in the United States were attacked by various sectors of society, and their ability to train outstanding students was questioned. Therefore, small colleges in the United States decided to unite to resist pressure from society. In 1915, they established AAC with the theme of “inclusiveness and mutual assistance”. They continued to grow and develop, and their membership was increasingly diversified. There were both public and private institutions, which had a certain impact on the development of American education. In 1995, AAC was renamed the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

After the Second World War, the US government attached great importance to the research and development of new weapons. A considerable part of R&D expenditures went to higher education institutions. As a result, the relationship between higher education institutions and the federal government has also changed. The US federal government has increased its focus on higher education and support for higher education institutions, and some higher education associations have recognized the need to pay close attention to federal government policies and actions to safeguard the interests of the member institutions they represent. However, due to the large number of AAC member institutions at the time, the interests of the inconsistencies were not only difficult to carry out the lobbying activities of the government, but also brought great obstacles to their own development.

In the 1960s, AAC paid more and more attention to the interests of private member institutions and formally established relationships with the Federation of State Associations of Independent Colleges and Universities (FSAICU). The association provides office space and funding for the alliance; the alliance serves the private member institutions of the association. In 1971, AAC reorganized and renamed FSAICU to the National Council of Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) [2]. This move triggered dissatisfaction among public institutions in AAC, arguing that the association spent too much time and energy on lobbying activities for private member institutions, ignoring the interests of public member institutions. At the same time, because there are also public member institutions in the NCICU, private member institutions believe that this cannot better represent their own interests. The inconsistency of the interests of AAC’s internal member institutions and the complexity of NCICU members have become two important issues that hinder the development of AAC.

To resolve this contradiction, AAC established a special committee in 1975. Managed by Edgar Carlson, former executive director of the Minnesota Private College Council. The Special Committee has concluded through research that private institutions must have an independent organization to speak for them and point out that the association has two options – to expel a public member institution or to form a new one. After weighing the balance, AAC decided to establish a new organization to represent the interests of private member institutions. In 1976, NAICU was established with the help of AAC (see Figure 1). Since then, the American Independent College and the University Association have developed independently and are no longer affiliated with AAC [3]. At the first meeting of the board of directors in March 1976, John Phillips became the first president of the association.

As a new national organization, NAICU focuses on the development of private higher education. Since then, the association has grown and expanded, and has continued to improve its organization. In 1977, the Association established the Legal Services Review Panel, the Government Relations Advisory Committee and the Secretariat; the Student Aid Alliance was established in 1994; and in 2007, the University & College Accountability Network was developed. , U-CAN); In 2017, a core group of the Independent College of Congress was established to better serve member institutions. At the same time, the association’s “Home & Away” “to vote, send out your voice” and “student priority” activities become regular activities.

Through the promotion of the event, the member institutions of the American Independent College and the University Association have been growing and the scope of distribution has gradually expanded. As the youngest member of the six core associations of American higher education, NAICU consists of more than 1,000 independent colleges and universities and affiliated associations. There are many famous universities in the association, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University.

Second, institutional settings and specific operations

(1) Organizational structure

NAICU is headquartered in Washington, DC. From 1993 to June 2019, the president of the association has been David L. Warren, one of the most recognized figures in the field of higher education in Washington, DC. On April 1, 2019, the NAICU Board of Directors announced the appointment of Barbara K. Mistick as the fourth president of the association, who will take up her post on September 1, 2019. The association holds annual meetings and elections in the first quarter of each year, and leaders’ meetings are held in April and November.

As shown in Figure 2, the leadership of NAICU mainly includes the board of directors, committees, and management departments. The board of directors consists of 47 members. The association has seven committees and is responsible to the board of directors, which are divided into two categories: Policy Committees and Operational Committees. The Policy Committee has a Responsibility Committee, a Student Aid Committee, a Policy Analysis and Public Relations Committee, and a Tax Policy Committee; the Operation Committee has an Executive Committee, an Administrative Committee, and an Audit Committee. The Secretariat has 30 members and serves on the policy committee and board of the association.

The chairman of the board of directors and the administrative assistant of the chairman assist the chairman. Under the chairmanship, the five management departments are responsible for different matters, namely the government relations and policy development department, the research and policy analysis department, the public affairs department, and the finance and administration departments and membership relations and conference planning departments directly under the responsibility of the vice chairman.

(2) Target and membership

“Speaking for private non-profit colleges and universities in the United States” is the purpose and guiding principle of NAICU. NAICU is the leading representative association of private non-profit higher education institutions in the United States. The basic principles of the association’s policy choices and measures are: to ensure the independence of private non-profit higher education institutions, to ensure that all students in the member institutions (regardless of family income) can successfully receive higher education. The association’s assistance program is to help students enroll in the school. The association promotes tax policies that facilitate family savings and enrollment, and promotes independent colleges and universities to accomplish their mission.

With the approval of the NAICU Board of Directors, all accredited US private non-profit higher education institutions can join the NAICU. Associations representing independent colleges and universities and other professional associations are also eligible to join. Currently, NAICU consists of 967 colleges and universities, and 40 state-level administrative agencies of NAICU.

(3) Subsidiary organizations

The main affiliate of NAICU is the Student Aid Alliance. The Association and ACE jointly organize the work of the Student Assistance Alliance. The Student Aid Alliance was established in 1994 and consists of 85 higher education institutions. By supporting the federal aid program, the Alliance helps students complete their studies while avoiding students being overburdened with debt.

From the late 1990s to the beginning of the 21st century, the Student Aid Alliance successfully won the support of the two major US parties and promoted government-assisted student assistance programs. In 2015, with the joint efforts of the Student Aid Alliance and the Association, Pell Grants, the Federal TRIO Program (a program to help poor students) [5], and re-education grants won more federal funding. In the same year, the Student Aid Alliance launched a “Strengthening Student Aid” campaign on social media, emphasizing the importance of federal aid to students.

In addition to the Student Assistance Alliance, the Association’s other affiliated organizations include the Legal Services Review Panel (LSRP) and the State-National Information Network (SNIN). The LSRP assessment affects the legal issues of independent colleges and universities; SNIN works with NAICU and its state administration to assist the policy agenda of each member institution.

(4) Income and expenditure

NAICU earns around $6 million a year. Funding is mainly due to membership fees, as well as meeting income (sponsors) and other income. The association’s revenue for 2015-2016 was $6.2 million, of which $5.8 million (more than 93%) came from membership dues. According to the April 2015 report of the Association, about 75 institutions pay the minimum membership fee ($600), about 135 institutions pay the highest membership fee ($14,500), and about 700 colleges and universities pay the average membership fee (about $5,700).

In terms of expenditure, the association’s average annual expenditure is about 5 to 6 million US dollars. Funding is based on the annual budget and actual conditions. Expenditure mainly includes personnel compensation and business expenses. Staff salaries include wages, benefits, and income taxes, which account for more than 70% of expenditures. Operating expenses include consultant/external service fees, annual membership fees, conference and travel expenses, office operating expenses, and computer/data service fees. At the same time, the association has set up special projects or activities (exceeding the fiscal year operating budget or special expenses that affect multiple fiscal years). For example, on November 16, 2007, the special project fund approved by the board of directors ($200,000) was used for university information network expenses. [6]

(5) Organizing activities

The organizational activities of NAICU are broadly divided into two categories: one is professional activities and the other is political activities.

The association’s professional activities are to bridge the gap between private colleges or university leaders so they can share their experiences. The Association strives to be the spokesperson for independent higher education in the United States, highlighting the distinctive educational characteristics of private colleges and universities. The Association helps colleges and universities improve decision-making efficiency by providing a wide range of programs and services. For example, the association’s archives cover more than 1,700 colleges and universities, provide an overview of independent colleges and universities in the United States, and regularly update higher education information. The association holds annual meetings in the first quarter of each year, as well as leadership meetings in April and November, the Spring Board Committee Meeting and the Fall Leaders Meeting. During the annual convention, the Association awards awards to individuals who support independent higher education. Awards include the Henry Parry Memorial Award (starting in 1985 to recognize individuals advancing the development of independent higher education in the United States) and the Independent Higher Education Award (starting in 1993, recognizing outside the academic community, such as government, business or philanthropy support) Individuals in independent higher education).

The political activities of the association mainly through the establishment of a special policy working group, extensive and in-depth social research and public opinion propaganda, lobbying senior officials of the government and parliament and other means to influence the revision of the bill and other decision-making activities. Student assistance, taxation policies, and regulatory approaches have always been the focus of the association: the association works with its members and friendly organizations to ensure adequate funding for student assistance programs and to protect them from excessive cuts; associations protect independent colleges and universities The tax-exempt status encourages charitable donations, advocates preferential tax policies that are conducive to family savings and payment of tuition fees for member institutions; the Association responds to the society’s constant demands on higher education institutions and appropriately supervises independent colleges and universities.

Third, the role and influence of American education

(1) Injecting vitality into American higher education

NAICU is committed to promoting the development of private, non-profit higher education institutions. NAICU member institutions are divided into vocational and technical colleges, liberal arts colleges, etc. according to the school category. The academic system is mostly two-year and four-year. The subjects are art, theology, and law, which reflects the diversity of private higher education. The flourishing development of private higher education has injected fresh blood into the higher education of the United States and made American higher education vibrant. The association works with Congress, government and regulators to promote the development of private, non-profit higher education.

The Association has improved the efficiency of decision making in colleges and universities through a wide range of projects and services. The association’s experts and leadership team collects opinions and suggestions from private non-profit higher education institutions in the United States to help member institutions build bridges between the US Capitol, the White House and federal agencies. In addition, the association’s activities such as “inside and outside the association” promote the contact between member institutions and relevant government departments. In 2013, the Association also established a Higher Education Management Committee to address the high cost and inefficiency faced by private higher education institutions.

The Association holds annual meetings, spring board committee meetings, and autumn leaders’ meetings, which strengthen communication and exchanges between member institutions and contribute to the development of member institutions. At the same time, all staff members of the Association can provide information and consulting services on a one-to-one and confidential basis at any time based on the needs of member institutions.

In addition to providing services to its member institutions, the Association also provides assistance to decision makers and the public through the “Take a vote, send out your voice” campaign, the University Information Network, and jointly promote the development of American higher education.

(2) Impact on US higher education policy

Since its inception, NAICU has focused on three key areas: regulatory approaches; strengthening federal funding, promoting tax policies that benefit private universities, students, and their supporters; and maintaining the autonomy of private education institutions.

The association has achieved remarkable results in more than 40 years of work. The association communicates with the federal government, pays attention to various policies and recommendations in the US higher education field, including concerns about campus crime and campus security issues; implements tax policies that help household savings and pay college tuition, through current federal tax incentives The policy maintains the federal government’s support for students and their families; protects the tax exempt status of private colleges and universities, the independence of endowment funds, and incentives for charitable giving. The association also continues to advocate the abolition of new private university donation taxes; it proposes to improve taxation policies that are important to students, families, and associations, including student loan interest deductions, tuition waivers and tax incentives for campus staff and graduate assistants.

In February 2017, NAICU established the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus, an informal group of members responsible for contacting members of Congress to deal with private non-profit higher education institutions and students. Transaction.

(3) Services to teachers and students in the United States

NAICU values ​​the fairness of American education and serves teachers and students in a variety of ways. The association expresses its opinions and opinions on the federal policy issues of teachers, such as NAICU’s opposition to the Obama administration’s 2016 regulations for the Teacher Preparation Program (TPP), which is governed by the states. Enforcement, whose performance is based on federal standards and linked to the teaching grant program, which the association believes will hinder the development of the teacher industry. [7]

The association also pays attention to students from major universities, especially those in member institutions. For example, the association advocates increasing federally funded student programs to secure federal funding for student funding programs. These funding programs help low- and middle-income students entering college to complete university studies. In 1994, NAICU established the Student Assistance Alliance to provide assistance to students in a variety of ways; in order to enable students to choose the college or university that suits them, the Association has created a university information network. On September 26, 2007, more than 600 organizations participated in the online information network of colleges and universities. The university information network provides comparable data and links to campus information and has been well received. [8]

NAICU also has some problems in the development process. The association faces the problem of controlling costs and solving the pressure of real-time expenditures. Due to the focus of attention of various universities and the differences in needs, it is difficult for the member institutions of the association to unify opinions on some issues, which leads to the inefficiency of the association when coordinating work.

Throughout the development of NAICU, we can clearly see its important role in rallying the consensus of independent educational institutions in the United States, promoting exchanges between schools and governments, and assisting students. It has certain reference significance for the current development of China’s higher education, especially the organization of educational associations.