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National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Formation1976; 48 years ago (1976)
TypeEducation policy nonprofit
Legal status501(c)(3)
Headquarters1025 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 700, Washington D.C., U.S.

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) located in Washington D.C. It is an organization of private American colleges and universities. Founded in 1976,[1] it is made up of over 1,000 independent higher education institutions.

NAICU staff meets with policymakers, helps coordinate the joint activities of state-level private college associations, and advises members of legislative and regulatory developments with potential impact on their institutions.

NAICU has three main federal advocacy goals.[2] First, to ensure that federal student aid programs help to provide all Americans with access to the college of their choice. Second, to seek appropriate regulation of private colleges and universities that is sensitive to their diversity and independence while addressing society's needs. And third, to promote tax policies that help families pay for college and also helps private colleges fulfill their distinctive missions.

In addition, NAICU works cooperatively with its fellow presidential associations, as well as the many other specialized higher education associations, in spearheading major public initiatives. Such projects include: the Student Aid Alliance, an effort to enhance funding for existing student aid programs; the non-partisan National Campus Voter Registration Project that helps colleges and universities encourage voter registration and increase voter education in presidential and congressional elections; and CampusCares, a national campaign to recognize the community service performed by millions of students, faculty and staff.

NAICU developed the University and College Accountability Network (U-CAN), a tool for prospective students and their parents to complement guides like U.S. News & World Report, which has been the focus of criticism. U-CAN allows parents and students to compare characteristics of private colleges and universities based on what students and parents actually want to know.


Barbara K. Mistick became president of NAICU on September 1, 2019.[3] Prior to that, she was the president of Wilson College in Pennsylvania.

Past Presidents


  1. ^ "NAICU About".
  2. ^ "NAICU Issues & Advocacy".
  3. ^ Jaschik, Scott (April 3, 2019). "New Leader for Private College Group". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved August 10, 2022.