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The American Council on Education (ACE) is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private. Our members educate two out of every three students in all accredited, degree-granting U.S. institutions.
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Under a membership model, individuals, groups, or institutions pay a fee or register as members to gain access to that which an organization provides. Each state network determines whether it will engage a membership model and, if so, what its corresponding membership structure and goals are. Goals may include revenue generation, increased visibility for the network, and marketing programs or events hosted by the network. Your state network’s membership model should align with its overarching goals and strategy and present a clear sense of the value that your network brings to its members. It should address issues such as:
Individual or institutional memberships are the two most common approaches by state networks. Some networks offer both options.
Your membership model should be clear about whether your network will provide free or fee-based memberships.
If your network chooses to use a membership fee structure, determine how much you will charge members. Base your decision on how you plan to use the membership fees. Whether you will use them for developing new programs, providing scholarships, or to offset administrative costs associated with operating your network, consider the overall costs and how much is needed from membership revenue to support the network’s goals.
Collection of membership fees
Some state networks roll membership into conference registration so that anyone who attends their annual conferences is automatically considered a member. Others allow members to renew their membership and pay online. Still others send annual renewal letters to institutional members. No matter which fee approach you use, a strategy for collecting membership fees should be part of your model.
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Higher education is undergoing the most rapid and far-reaching transformation it may have ever experienced. The American Council on Education (ACE) has supported its members every step of the way over the past year. Membership matters now more than ever.
Lead and learn in challenging times
In unprecedented times, ACE has responded to help higher education leaders pivot quickly and share essential resources on COVID-19 and other critical issues.
Since March, ACE has hosted more than 50 rapid-response webinars and podcasts to help leaders transition to online teaching and advising; plan for reopening; support students’ mental health; respond to financial challenges; and promote civic engagement.
Our monthly Public Policy Pop-Up webinars provide higher education leaders up-to-the-minute updates on federal policy developments affecting higher education. And with its recurring Pulse Point surveys, ACE has compiled a record of how leaders are responding to the changing higher education landscape.