Associate Membership – Benefits, Criteria, and Details

For independent, associate’s degree-granting colleges of liberal arts.

Associate Member Benefits

*While most CIC member benefits are available to all CIC members, some programs are limited to specific membership categories. Please refer to the program’s webpage for details.

  • Leadership Development—Campus leaders and faculty members can participate in programs that allow them to learn from experts and share ideas on a range of timely topics that address key challenges of independent colleges and universities. Most are open only to members while some allow nonmembers to apply while giving preference to members. 
  • Institutional Development—Member institutions can participate in consortial and campus team programs that aim to implement new campus initiatives by facilitating candid exchanges among key campus leaders. These opportunities include face-to-face networking, online engagement activities, and a complete set of implementation resources for participating institutional teams. 
  • Faculty Development—Faculty members can apply to a range of programs that strengthen teaching, learning, and the quality and rigor of education on their campuses.
  • Tuition Exchange Program—Members can offer their employees a benefit program that allows employees and their families at participating institutions to receive tuition-free enrollment at hundreds of participating campuses.
  • Community Forums—Member presidents and most cabinet members can participate in secure discussions with their counterparts at other member institutions to collaborate on best practices and to access an archive of documents and material resources.
  • List Requests—Members can obtain, upon request, mailing lists for specific purposes.
  • Research Reports—Members receive CIC research reports that analyze current trends most relevant to presidents and other leaders of independent colleges and universities.
  • Digest of Recent Research—CIC provides this publication to highlight timely research from scholarly journals and other publications.
  • Media Relations—The perspectives of members are represented through CIC using channels such as published op-eds, articles, press releases, books, and national public information programs. CIC continues to collect and analyze data for timely responses to requests from news media or other organizations for data about independent colleges and universities.
  • News and Publications—Associate members receive timely reports and email alerts on critical issues as well as CIC’s newsletter, The Independent.


To qualify for Associate Membership, an institution must:

  • Be a nonprofit (501(c)3 IRS status), independent, small to mid-sized institution;
  • Offer a program leading to an associates degree or its equivalent;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to liberal arts and sciences by such means as requiring for graduation approximately one-third of all courses taken to be in those fields;
  • Offer several areas of concentration in the liberal arts and sciences disciplines, or enroll a large percentage of all students in these programs;
  • Possess at least Candidacy Status of a United States regional association; and
  • Have been in operation for a minimum of three years.


The 2023–2024 dues are $975.

For additional information, please contact Faith Brown, CIC membership services and Tuition Exchange Program manager, at (202) 466-7230 or