ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA works around the country to promote high academic standards, a strong liberal arts based core curriculum, an end to grade inflation, improved teacher training, and increased accountability.

ACTA serves as a go-to resource for governors and legislators interested in academic excellence, academic freedom, and accountability. From expert testimony, to organizing events for public trustees, to in-depth policy research, ACTA works around the country to promote high academic standards, a strong liberal arts based core curriculum, an end to grade inflation, improved teacher training, and increased accountability.

WHAT WE ARE DOING

Testimony and Policy Research

State and federal legislators look to ACTA’s expertise and depth of research as a resource for developing long-term solutions to the challenges facing higher education. ACTA has provided testimony before various legislatures and commissions in Louisiana, New Jersey, Georgia, and Montana, among other states, as well before as the U.S. Senate Finance Committee roundtable. ACTA has provided guidance to the Joint Oversight Committee of the Texas State Legislature and the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s office during its investigation of Penn State University. ACTA President Anne Neal serves as a member of the federal National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

Trustee Orientation and Training

ACTA works with governors and coordinating boards across the country to educate both new and veteran trustees. In 2014, ACTA facilitated the publication of Governance for a New Era, a groundbreaking report by over 20 national leaders that provides a blueprint for governing boards. ACTA regularly organizes seminars focusing on national trends in higher education as well as state-specific initiatives, providing trustees with the information they need to uphold their fiduciary duty to the public interest. In recent months, ACTA has held seminars for trustees in conjunction with the Aspen Institute in Virginia, Chicago, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and ACTA staff have given presentations on effective governance in South Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana at the invitation of their state governors.

"If we are going to make the kinds of improvement we need ... [trustees] are going to have to press for it, and measure it, and demand results..."

– Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana Trustees Academy

Reaching Out to Governors

In public higher education, where 80% of students are now enrolled, the best way to reach trustees is through the governors. ACTA works around the country to engage reform-minded governors to challenge the current direction of higher education. ACTA helps governors develop an agenda for higher education reform, identify strong board appointees, organize Governors' Conferences for College and University Trustees and provide follow-up work with trustees to implement reform agendas. ACTA has successfully applied this approach in New York, Virginia, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas. In 2011, ACTA released Leading the Charge: Governors, Higher Education, and Accountability, a guide to help governors reform public higher education in their states.

Accreditation Reform

For more than 60 years, accreditation has been the Congressional safeguard for billions of taxpayer dollars expended in student loan money. However, while Americans fork over billions of their hard-earned funds, quality is down and costs are up. Meanwhile, accreditors are imposing "standards" that raise costs and undermine institutional autonomy and diversity—historic strengths of American higher education. ACTA’s seminal publications, Why Accreditation Doesn't Work and What Policymakers Can Do About It and Can College Accreditation Live Up to Its Promise? highlight what needs to be done. In 2012, ACTA president Anne Neal co-authored the minority report to the U.S. Department of Education on strategies to reform and improve higher education accreditation.

Our Initiatives

Resources

Governance for a New Era

August 2014by Benno C. Schmidt |  

Governance for a New Era, a blueprint for higher education governance, is the product of a summit facilitated by ACTA and chaired by Benno Schmidt, City...

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Leading the Charge

August 2014by ACTA |  

With this new tool, ACTA is working to expand its outreach to governors nationwide on behalf of higher education reform, focusing on key issues of quality,...

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Protecting Students and Taxpayers

September 2013by Hank Brown |  

When it comes to federal funding of higher education, the government's approach to quality assurance and consumer protection is a public policy and...

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Press

Scathing report says college trustees fail in mission

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
August 20, 2014 |

Trustees at many American colleges and universities abandoned the public trust and allowed standards to slip even as costs soared and public confidence in...

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Report: Congress Should Reform College Accreditation to Save Students, Taxpayers

U.S. News & World Report
September 30, 2013 |

As Congress embarks on its mission to reauthorize the law that governs the flow of federal financial aid dollars, some education experts say the government...

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U.S. House of Representatives Holds Hearing on Accreditation

Council for Higher Education & Accreditation: Federal Updates
June 13, 2013 |

On June 13, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Higher Education and the Workforce held a hearing focusing on accreditation. The hearing...

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