N onprofit colleges and universities are represented in Washington by an alphabet soup of organized associations, the most important of which comprise the “Big Six.” The largest and most powerful is the American Council on Education. The other members are the Association of American Universities, an exclusive group of top research institutions that allows new members only by invitation; the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, a descendant of the first-ever higher ed group, the Association of American Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations, which was established in 1887; the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, composed of private schools ranging from two-year institutions to small liberal arts colleges to large universities; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which represents the less prestigious, more reg-ional publics; and the American Association of Community Colleges. Almost all colleges and universities belong to ACE and at least one of the other five groups.
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