About the ACA
The Appalachian College Association is a non-profit consortium of 35 private four-year liberal arts institutions spread across the central Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Collectively these higher education institutions serve over 54,000 students.
The Association helps develop and share ideas, information, programs and resources to achieve its goals, which include promoting cooperation and collaboration among its member institutions to serve the people of Appalachia through higher education and related services. The ACA functions independently of any one institution to serve all its members.
More important than who we are is what we have done and what we expect to do. Our primary efforts are directed toward strengthening our faculty by helping them stay current in their subject matter through graduate and post-graduate study and research; giving students research experiences that supplement their basic academic courses; and encouraging each institution to reach out in service to its community and region through a variety of programs.
The ACA developed from a grant-funded project at the University of Kentucky over a 10-year period between 1980-1989. In 1990, the ACA became an independent organization, and in 1993 became its own tax-exempt classification under Section 501(c)(3) of the 1986 Internal Revenue Service Code. The ACA's purpose is exclusively educational under this designation. Governance is by a board comprised of member institutions presidents and an executive committee, which is elected by the board each year.
Six research universities in the region (University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina, University of Tennessee, West Virginia University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech) are affiliated with the ACA. These institutions assist the ACA in reviewing grant and fellowship applications, conducting workshops and providing technical assistance.
The assets of the ACA have grown from less than $1 million to over $30 million due primarily to the generosity of the foundations that have continued to fund its programs to benefit central Appalachia.