American Association of State Colleges and Universities
AASCU's 420 public college and university members are found throughout the United States, and in Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands We range in size from 1,000 students to 44,000. We are found in the inner city, in suburbs, towns and cities, and in remote rural America. We include campuses with extensive offerings in law, medicine and doctoral education—as well as campuses offering associate degrees to complement baccalaureate studies. We are both residential and commuter, and with on-line degrees as well. Yet common to virtually every member institution are three qualities that define its work and characterize our common commitments.
I. We are institutions of access and opportunity. We believe that the American promise should be real for all Americans, and that belief shapes our commitment to access, affordability and educational opportunity, and in the process strengthens American democracy for all citizens.
II. We are student-centered institutions. We place the student at the heart of our enterprise, enhancing the learning environment and student achievement not only through teaching and advising, but through our research and public service activities.
III. We are “stewards of place.” We engage faculty, staff and students with the communities and regions we serve—helping to advance public education, economic development and the quality of life for all with whom we live and who support our work. We affirm that America’s promise extends not only to those who come to the campus but to all our neighbors. We believe that through this stewardship and through our commitments to access and opportunity and to our students, public colleges and universities effectively and accountably deliver America’s promise. In so doing we honor and fulfill the public trust.
The Association has a four-fold purpose: To promote appreciation and support for public higher education and the distinctive contributions of our member colleges and universities;
To analyze public policy, and to advocate for member institutions and the students they serve;
To provide policy leadership and program support to strengthen academic quality, promote access and inclusion, and facilitate educational innovation; and
To create professional development opportunities for institutional leaders, especially presidents, chancellors and their spouses.
Membership is open to any regionally accredited institution of higher education offering programs leading to bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees and wholly or partially state supported or state controlled. AASCU schools enroll more than 3 million students or 56 percent of the enrollment at all public four-year institutions.
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities was established in 1961 in response to: "The growing impact of the federal government on higher education, particularly as it related to research grants and other grants-in-aid, had made it absolutely necessary that a strong national association be formed to represent the interests of students in state colleges and universities." AASCU grew out of the Association of Teacher Education Institutions organized in 1951 to serve public comprehensive institutions most of them having begun as single purpose institutions, most of them normal schools.