Press Release

AAC&U Receives Grant from Ascendium Education Group to Support Membership and Event Participation for Institutions Serving Students with High Financial Need

Washington, DC—October 13, 2020—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today that it has received a grant of $1,249,400 from Ascendium Education Group to support membership and event participation for institutions that serve a large number of students with high financial need. The grant is intended to help sustain momentum on important student success reforms, support programming that is responsive to the post-pandemic world, and help prevent equity gaps from widening as a result of the crisis.

The grant funding will be used to subsidize institutional membership costs for current and prospective AAC&U members where at least 40 percent of undergraduate students are Pell Grant recipients. The funding will also support faculty and staff participation in the association’s thematic conferences and its 2021 annual meeting.

“In the wake of tremendous financial pressures, many institutions are cutting professional development budgets. At the same time, faculty and administrators need the support and knowledge base more than ever,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “AAC&U is grateful to Ascendium for helping us support and expand member involvement at this critical time for higher education.”

The grant funding is part of Ascendium’s Maintain Momentum initiative, which recognizes the key role postsecondary education membership organizations and networks play in supporting student success reforms, particularly across colleges and universities serving large percentages of students from low-income backgrounds. The initiative recognizes that an increasing number of organizations are unable to join these vital organizations or to maintain their involvement due to COVID-19-related financial constraints.

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,200 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

About Ascendium Education Group

Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium’s work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit