Higher Education Organizations

Board Buzzwords - Organizations

Names & Acronyms of Higher Education Organizations Every Trustee Should Know


Association of Community College Trustees is a nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond. These community professionals, business officials, public policy leaders, and leading citizens offer their time and talent to serve on the governing boards of this century's most innovative higher education institutions-community, junior, and technical colleges-and make decisions that affect more than 1,200 colleges and over 11 million students annually.

CCRC Community College Research Center

Housed at Teachers College, Columbia University, the Community College Research Center (CCRC) has been a leader in the field of community college research and reform for over 20 years. Their work provides a foundation for innovations in policy and practice that help give every community college student the best chance of success.


Community College Survey of Student Engagement is a product and service of the Center for Community College Student Engagement. The survey is a well-established tool that helps institutions focus on good educational practice and identify areas in which they could improve their programs and services for students.


Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy is an independent, nonprofit research and policy institute affiliated with the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy that studies the link between education, career qualifications, and workforce demands.


Council for Higher Education Accreditation: A national advocate and institutional voice for promoting academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations.

Education Commission of the States

an interstate compact on education policy which partners with education policy leaders to address issues by sharing resources and expertise. Education Commission of the States supports all 50 states and four territories – the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Each state appoints seven commissioners who help guide our work and their own state’s education agendas; territorial appointments vary. Commissioners also have the authority to approve amendments to bylaws and provide strategic information to our staff regarding state education policy issues.


Institute of Educational Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, established by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Its mission is to expand knowledge and provide information on the condition of education, practices that improve academic achievement, and the effectiveness of federal and other education programs. Its goal is the transformation of education into an evidence-based field in which decisionmakers routinely seek out the best available research and data before adopting programs or practices that will affect significant numbers of students.


Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS):   system is managed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and provides publicly available data on all postsecondary institutions which participate in federal student financial aid programs.


Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. IWPR is a leading think tank in the United States applying quantitative and qualitative analysis of public policy through a gendered lens. IWPR advances women’s status through social science research, policy analysis, and public education and  develops new policy ideas, encourages public debate, and promotes policy and program development.


National Academic Advising Association is an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators, and students working to enhance the educational development of students.


National Center for Education Statistics is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.

regional accreditation

institutional accreditation which means an entire school is accredited. That bestows a high level of credibility on a college or university as a whole. Institutional accreditation can be provided by a regional or national accreditation group. The United States is divided into six geographic regions, and each has its own regional accrediting organization. Only those accrediting groups that are acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education are considered legitimate: Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities (NWCCU),  Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC),  Higher Learning Commission (HLC); New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE);  Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  A map of the scope of each regional accreditor is online. (See also program accreditation and CHEA.)

state associations

There are 24 states in which a statewide community college association represents trustees, CEOs, and/or both. ACCT collaborates with these affiliate organizations to facilitate communication, membership support and advocacy between the state and national levels. The National Council of State Association Chief Executives (NCSACE) consists of the CEOs of all of the state community college associations. NCSACE members typically meet during ACCT's Annual Leadership Congress and the Community College National Legislative Summit. For more information about ACCT's relationships with state community college associations, contact membershipupdates@acct.org.