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Information on Becoming a NAICU Member


Contact Deborah Reilly, NAICU Director for Member Relations and Conference Planning,

The Value of NAICU Membership

As one of the six major presidential higher education associations in Washington, D.C., NAICU is instrumental both in shaping higher education policy and in assisting its members with those issues at the intersection of the institution and the federal government - Congress, the Administration, and the regulatory agencies.

NAICU endeavors to increase federal student aid, seek regulatory relief, and advocate for tax policy advantageous to our students and institutions. We are a collective voice for the private, nonprofit colleges and universities, and serve as a watchdog for its member institutions and the students they serve. NAICU members enroll 90 percent of the students in U.S. private, nonprofit higher education.

In the current economic and political climate, it is no longer an option, but a necessity, for our private, nonprofit colleges and university to speak with a unified and potent voice on critical public policy issues with Congress, regulatory agencies, the White House, and the federal courts. Issues of college affordability, student debt, for-profit sector abuses, and improved consumer information have become part of the daily news cycle.

The value of federal higher education tax benefits and student aid is now more than $170 billion annually. We all know the importance of these funds to our students, their families, our nation, and our institutions. However, such a large federal investment means tough policy questions are being asked to ensure that scarce taxpayer funds are well spent. Some would reduce or eliminate these benefits. NAICU actively works with lawmakers from both parties in their continuing review and revision of these programs to ensure responsible use of public funds and continued support.

The federal government is increasingly moving toward nationalizing education. Higher education is not immune from the forces that have dramatically changed elementary and secondary education since the passage of "No Child Left Behind" legislation. We have already seen the proposal of radical new rules for college teacher preparation programs. Other changes could come because of concerns about abusive marketing practices to veterans by for-profit colleges. NAICU will continue to represent independent, nonprofit colleges and universities in protracted negotiations over these proposals and others that could threaten our independence, if agreements are not properly crafted.

Click here for a list of key policy issues we are working on at NAICU. 

What NAICU Offers

- Advocating for Student Aid

NAICU has been working tirelessly to mobilize our members against ongoing congressional efforts to cut Pell Grants and other vital student aid programs, which allow more than 9 million low-income students to attend college. In addition to spearheading the Student Aid Alliance, we have created a special webpage to assure that members have ready access to the federal funding information they need.

- Navigating Federal Concerns

NAICU helps our members navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of congressional concerns and federal mandates. We have developed a number of tools to provide support. New resources are added regularly as fresh issues emerge. Here are some of our member support initiatives:

  • U-CAN - NAICU created, launched, and continues to refine the University & College Accountability Network (U-CAN), a resource for prospective students and their families. The initiative grew out of demands in Washington and in the media for greater transparency and accountability by colleges and universities.

  • The GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program - NAICU not only fought for the full inclusion of private colleges in the new GI Bill provisions, but also has been instrumental in helping colleges understand and participate in the Yellow Ribbon program.

- Working for Balanced Tax Policy

NAICU advocates tax policies that help families save and pay for college, and also helps private colleges fulfill their distinctive missions. A long list of important higher education tax benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of 2011 and 2012. Independent higher education's collective voice will be crucial if these provisions are to survive.

- Making the Case for Independent Higher Education

NAICU makes the case for independent higher education - with Congress, the Department of Education, the news media, and the general public. We help our members make that case as well by providing them with talking points, background documents, supportive examples and data, and printed pieces like Independent Colleges and Universities: A National Profile. This piece is available in bulk for members' use with their own constituencies.

- Providing Timely and Relevant Communications

Given the increased need for timely contact with our members, NAICU has over recent years adopted electronic communication as our primary means to reach and inform member presidents and their staff.

  • PresNet - Sent to member presidents when necessary to report and inform regarding important developments in higher education policy.

  • NAICU Washington Update - Washington Update offers brief summaries of higher education policy developments, with links to more extensive information on the NAICU Web site.

  • NAICU Headline News Service - This highly popular service provides a daily summary of higher education news from national, regional, and local media, with links to the full articles on line. It is available as a daily e-mail, RSS feed, and via Twitter and Facebook. The service is free but optional.

  • Specialized Staff List Serves - Supplementing PresNet, above, we offer dedicated list serves for government relations staff (GovNet), public relations staff (PRNet), and institutional relations staff (IRnet). Staff of member institutions may subscribe by sending a request to

- Connecting with Your Peers

NAICU membership provides an opportunity to connect and share information with fellow presidents of private colleges and universities. Our web site membership directory is updated virtually daily. Included is basic information on all member institutions, including the name of the president. Also available to members only - once they have established a log-in account - is full contact information on all presidents, including direct phone number and e-mail address. Members also may download and print a current PDF version of the full membership information.

- NAICU Annual Meeting

The NAICU Annual Meeting affords an excellent opportunity to catch up with colleagues on an informal basis, and to participate in three days of informative programming. The meeting is always held in Washington, D.C., with hundreds of presidents in attendance.

- One-to-One Counsel

The NAICU staff is always available to provide information and counsel as needed on a one-to-one and confidential basis. This assistance might take the form of our research staff providing data for use in a presidential speech, asking those in government relations for insights into congressional or agency actions, or having our communications staff offer comment on an opinion piece for media placement.


Membership in NAICU is open to all accredited independent (private) nonprofit colleges and universities, subject to approval by the association's board of directors.

Contact for More Information:  Deborah Reilly at (202) 785-8866 or