Success Stories

ACTA has achieved amazing victories . . . and is continuing its vital program of educating alumni, trustees, and the rest of us interested in the health of our educational institutions and the country they serve.

—Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor Emeritus of
Classics & History, Yale University


Since 2016, ACTA’s trustee guide How Much is Too Much? and its one-of-a-kind interactive web tool have helped over 90 colleges and universities assess their administrative expenditures against federal data. At Northern Illinois University, the board of trustees even incorporated ACTA’s research in the president’s evaluation critera. One of the board’s stated goals for the president was that he control the institution’s administrative-to-instructional cost ratio as defined by ACTA.

I read your recently published study How Much is Too Much? with great interest. We are mindful of the need to manage our administrative costs carefully and your study provided some useful benchmarks.

—Martin S. Dorph, Executive Vice President, New York University


ACTA worked with an alumnus who wanted to endow a chair at his alma mater, but he did not think that the traditional endowed chair model would achieve his philanthropic goals. He reached out to ACTA’s program, the Fund for Academic Renewal (FAR), to explore his options. FAR provided guidance on a variety of ways to structure an endowed chair and helped him to negotiate a gift agreement with the university that protected his intent. With ACTA’s help, he decided to establish a revolving professorship so that students gain access to mentorship from a leader in the field.

If you want to have the best outcome, then you want to educate yourself on a variety of things. What [ACTA’s] Fund for Academic Renewal offers is important from that point of view. I found it really helpful to me, and it was critical in the ultimate outcome for us.

—Peter Sulick, Chairman, CEO, and President,
Dynasil Corporation of America


ACTA helped state policymakers in South Dakota craft the first ever statewide intellectual diversity bill. The bill requires public colleges and universities to report publicly their efforts to protect intellectual diversity, as well as establish, maintain, and enforce policies protecting free expression on campus. The bill passed.  Now campuses throughout South Dakota regularly report on their progress and share their experiences promoting an open exchange of ideas on campus.

Thank you for your help and support in passing South Dakota’s Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity bill during the 2019 legislative session. We relied heavily on [ACTA] for specialized information and subject matter expertise, and expert testimony. Without you, we could not have passed the nation’s first intellectual diversity bill.

—Representative Sue Peterson, Chair, House Gov't. Operations
and Audit, South Dakota State Legislature

Students & Parents

ACTA assisted a grandfather who wanted his grandchildren to receive a robust liberal arts education at a school that fosters free speech. We pulled data from both our annual What Will They Learn?® survey, which evaluates the general education requirements of colleges across the nation, and the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education, which tracks colleges’ speech bylaws. We helped him create a college fund for his grandchildren that was restricted to schools with strong ratings on both general education and free speech. 

“A robust education of the type that ACTA advocates . . . will empower success and significance in the lives of students. I see that every day on our campus in the lives of our graduates.”

—Paul Trible, President, Christopher Newport University, former U.S. Senator


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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