What We Do

CIC Mission Statement

Founded in 1956, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils, and higher education affiliates that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society.

CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility.

Eligibility for CIC membership is open to all small and mid-sized private, nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States that show a commitment to the liberal arts, similar institutions located outside the United States, and two-year independent institutions. Nonprofit organizations that support the purposes of independent higher education also are eligible to be CIC members.

CIC provides members with ideas, resources, and programs that help institutions improve their leadership expertise, educational programs, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility.

What Is an Independent College?

Simply defined, “independent” institutions are governed by boards of private citizens and operate independent of government control. They are nonprofit organizations supported primarily by tuition revenue, philanthropic gifts, and grants from foundations.

The independent sector of higher education includes traditional liberal arts colleges, small to mid-sized schools, research universities, religiously affiliated institutions, historically black colleges and universities, single-gender colleges, and performing and visual arts institutions. Some independent colleges and universities offer graduate programs and have schools of engineering, business, nursing, and other professions. Whereas public colleges and universities are primarily funded by state and federal governments, independent institutions rely on student tuition (and room and board), alumni and community donations, and endowments.