American Association of State Colleges and Universities
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|American Association of State Colleges and Universities|
|President||Muriel A. Howard|
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is an organization of state-supported colleges and universities that offer degree programs leading to bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees. AASCU grew out of the Association of Teacher Education Institutions that had been organized in 1951 to serve public comprehensive institutions most of them having begun as single purpose institutions, most of them normal schools.
Members of AASCU work to extend higher education to all citizens, including those who have been traditionally underrepresented on college campuses. By Delivering America’s Promise, these institutions fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the public good through education and engagement, thereby improving the lives of people in their community, their region and their state. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities represents more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the United States and its territories.
AASCU has a fourfold purpose:
- To promote appreciation and support for public higher education and the distinctive contributions of 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.
Public Policy Agenda 
AASCU’s public policy agenda focuses on promoting four general principles:
- Affordability- every qualified student—regardless of financial background—should be able to afford higher education.
- Access- all students who want to should have the opportunity to pursue a college education regardless of their demographic backgrounds.
- Accountability- as stewards of the public’s resources, public colleges and universities should communicate transparently and openly with the public regarding the use of their investment.
- Competitiveness- public institutions of higher education must prepare students to contribute to the country’s global, economic competitiveness in a modern, knowledge-based economy.
Major projects 
1998: AASCU’s African American presidents came together to start the Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI)—a program that prepares individuals traditionally underrepresented in the highest ranks of higher education for future leadership roles, particularly the presidency. MLI involves both a four-day intensive program and a yearlong partnership between a protégé and a mentor, who is a current or former president or chancellor. MLI grooms the protégés for leadership by helping them to develop the skills, gain a philosophical overview and build a network necessary to advance to the presidency.
2003: AASCU partnered with the New York Times to found the American Democracy Project (ADP). With over 220 member institutions, ADP is multi-campus initiative focused on higher education’s role in preparing graduates to become the next generation of informed, engaged citizens, committed to being active, involved members of their communities. ADP has furthered this goal through five national and 11 regional meetings, in addition to a national assessment project, campus audits, speaker series, recognition and award series, specific days of action and reflection, and several campus initiatives—including voter registration and education, and curriculum revision and projects. To promote civic education and awareness, ADP has also sponsored the Civic Engagement in Action Series.
2006: AASCU and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) began joint development of a Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) for public 4-year colleges and universities. This project is a response to the call by the Spellings Commission for increased accountability in higher education. Following a national call for nominations, over 90 people were appointed by the presidents of AASCU and NASULGC to work on this project. More information about VSA is avalalable at the VSA Project site. An important feature of this project is a high transparency design. Interested parties are invited to comment on the work of VSA while it is in progress. VSA Forums have been established to facilitate this design.
In 2010 AASCU launched First Generations Voices. First Generation Voices is a multimedia project highlighting the stories of first generation college students at AASCU member campuses. The stories, which can be submitted as audio, video or written narratives, are featured on the AASCU website, along with biographical information about the student and their institution.
- Public Purpose- AASCU’s quarterly magazine
- Policy Matters- a policy brief series that provides concise analysis of issues affecting public higher education
- Perspectives- occasional papers that explore current higher education issues in an in-depth manner
There are over 400 member institutions