Value of NAICU Membership


In a time of heightened budget pressures on most campuses, presidents are faced with making difficult decisions about priorities and resource allocation.  There are so many factors that impact the budgets of private, nonprofit colleges and universities.  Once such factor is the federal government.  As the largest donor, the federal government is a critical contributor to independent institutions and the students and families they serve.

NAICU’s expert staff and experienced leadership serve as the unified voice of the nation’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities, helping to analyze and shape federal higher education legislation and policy in Washington, DC.  

"When they (college and university leaders) speak with one voice, it's powerful."

 - Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
The Wall Street Journal

NAICU understands the daily pressures of serving as a college or university president.  Let us help you navigate the corridors of the United States Capitol, the White House and the federal agencies with oversite of higher education policy. 

NAICU’s more than 1,000 members around the country help us prioritize student success and highlight the public purpose and contributions of private, nonprofit colleges and universities.  

Supporting Your Voice in Washington

Since its founding in 1976, NAICU has consistently focused on three key areas: 
  • ​Preserving and protecting federal student aid.
  • Pressing for tax laws beneficial to private colleges, their students, and their supporters.
  • Seeking relief from intrusive regulations that threaten private colleges’ institutional autonomy.  Through its consistent focus on these key issues, NAICU has enjoyed notable success on behalf of its members and the students they serve for well over 40 years.  Today, more than 1,000 members comprise the national NAICU network of colleges and universities, and member associations.
What has changed over the years, however, is the vastly

92% of NAICU members say being aware of public policy changes and updates at the federal level is VERY important.
- NAICU Membership  Survey
altered social and political landscape in which NAICU pursues that mission.  Today NAICU continues to make the case for independent nonprofit higher education  with Congress, the administration, and the regulatory agencies.   For an overview of the diverse issues NAICU is currently addressing, see the more than three dozen Issue Briefs, created by NAICU’s government relations experts, summarizing the issues facing private, nonprofit higher education. 

NAICU Members are the Best Advocates for Private, Nonprofit Higher Education
As constituents of your congressional delegation, you

NAICU's influence in advocating for the interest of private colleges is dependent on the diversity and depth of its membership - those institutions NAICU most directly represents. Your active participation as a member of NAICU helps the association better serve both your institution and the interests of all private, nonprofit colleges.

and your institution have a powerful connection with which to shape federal deliberations affecting private colleges.  Central to NAICU’s effectiveness is its ability
to draw upon these local connections in times when you can help influence administrative decisions or legislative actions.  It’s essential for NAICU to have a member in every congressional district to help the association carry the message of private, nonprofit higher education to Congress and the Administration.
To help its members advocate on behalf of their institutions and the students and families they serve, NAICU provides members-only talking points, research, and analysis to help presidents and their staff make their case to elected officials and other state and community leaders.

There is strength in numbers.  Together, united, the voice of private, nonprofit higher education is stronger and more effective in Washington.

Understand and Participate in both State and Federal Government Relations

The Independent College Presidency, 1986-2016” is a 2018 study of American Council on Education data by the Council of Independent Colleges that takes an in-depth look at those who lead private, nonprofit colleges and universities.  The analysis found that, for presidents with less than 10 years in office, two of the three areas in which they felt most
underprepared were federal and state government relations (with the third area being technology planning).

84% of NAICU members say providing them with useful tools to make the case for private, nonprofit higher education is an important service NAICU provides. 
- NAICU Membership  Survey
Increasingly over the past decade, government at all levels has become more intrusive into the workings of higher education.  That could account for the importance presidents today attach to engaging their governmental representatives.  Through its member communications, proprietary members-only talking points, website resources, and meetings, NAICU constantly keeps member presidents informed of developments across federal government with impact on their campuses.

NAICU Aids in Networking
For all its high-visibility aspects, the presidency of a college or university can ultimately be a very lonely job.  Beyond a spouse or partner, few presidents have anyone with whom they can share their dreams, frustrations, and fears.  A community such as NAICU represents can foster that connection to others in the same role, and can help build your network of peer friends and advisors.
NAICU Provides a Venue for National Leadership
Many presidents find NAICU a valuable avenue for engaging in leadership on higher education issues beyond their own campuses.  The association is governed by a board of directors primarily composed of private college chief executives – 24 of whom are elected regionally by their peers and 12 appointed at-large.   Directors’ terms are three years.  Two-day meetings of the full board and its many additional committee members (also primarily campus CEOs), are held twice a year.  Contact us and we’ll be happy to advise you on how to become involved.
A Resource for Staff beyond the College or University President
While you as president are the primary member of

90% of NAICU members consider the association's ability to help them understand and comply with new rules important.
- NAICU Membership Survey
NAICU, the association also provides services and resources for other members of your administration.  NAICU offers targeted information, updates, and educational sessions for your government relations, public relations, and institutional research staff members in particular.  For the many smaller private colleges without the resources for an internal government relations staff, NAICU fills that function by providing necessary expertise, analysis and insight, and tools and resources to those colleges’ administration.
Personal Counsel and Support
All NAICU staff – including the president – are always available to provide information and advice, as needed, on a one-to-one and confidential basis.  This assistance might entail talking through a thorny board issue, having NAICU’s research staff provide data for your use in a presentation, asking its government relations staff for insights into congressional or agency actions, or having its communications staff offer comment on the draft of an opinion piece for media placement. 
Outreach Beyond the NAICU Membership
Beyond the services to its members, NAICU also reaches out to influentials and the public at large through focused communications initiatives.  Here are some examples:

In 2017 NAICU launched the Students First campaign to ensure that students can that students and families are able to choose – and afford – the college or university that best suits their individual and educational goals and objectives.

CICC logo
NAICU supported the founding of the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus, which gives members of Congress an opportunity to both celebrate and advance the diversity of the nation's private, nonprofit colleges and universities, and learn about the challenges and issues these institutions face.

In every presidential and mid-term election since 1996, NAICU has spearheaded the Your Vote, Your Voice effort on behalf of more than 50 national associations representing every sector of higher education.  The goal of the biannual campaign is to encourage voter education, registration, and participation of the nation’s college students.

NAICU was instrumental in establishing the Student Aid Alliance, a cooperative effort of 85 higher education organizations and institutions dedicated to the support of federal student aid.  The group has tirelessly advocated for enhancing and against cutting the Pell Grant program and other federal student aid programs since its founding in the mid-1990s.'