ABOUT THE ACA

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 60,000 students.

The mission of the Association is to serve Appalachian communities through the transformational work of its faculty, staff, and students. Programs offered by the Association are designed to promote cooperation and collaboration among member institutions, and to support scholarly and creative activities of faculty and students. 

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 the presidents of all member institutions, and an executive committee with representation from presidents and chief academic officers.  

The ACA has enjoyed affiliation with six research universities in the region: the University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina, University of Tennessee, West Virginia University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Representatives of these institutions have assisted the ACA in reviewing grant and fellowship applications, conducting workshops and providing technical assistance.

The assets of the ACA have grown to over $30 million due primarily to the generosity of the foundations that have continued to fund its programs to benefit central Appalachia.