Press Releases | General Education

Straight C’s for D.C. Universities

New national rankings reveal serious gaps in college preparation
October 7, 2015 by Armand B. Alacbay

WASHINGTON D.C.—The nation’s capital is home to important universities, but these institutions have lax academic requirements. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s (ACTA) annual report What Will They Learn? shows that the universities of one of the most educated cities in the country allow students to graduate with vast gaps in their skills and knowledge. ACTA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to academic excellence, academic freedom and accountability in higher education.


What Will They Learn? evaluates 1,100 public and private liberal arts colleges and universities based on their requirement of seven core subjects: composition, literature, intermediate-level foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, math and science. Schools are issued a grade from “A” to “F.”

Ironically, not a single university in the nation’s capital requires a course in U.S. history or government.

Meanwhile, tuition rates continue to climb even as President Obama and the Department of Education hold a national discussion about the rising costs of college and the quality of higher education in America. Every single school in D.C. raised tuition this year.

*Change in tuition reflects in-state/out-of-state tuition for the 2013–14 school year. Information reflects most recently collected public data from the National Center for Education Statistics.


To see the full D.C. report card, visit



Molly Mitchell
Director of Communications
American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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