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ACT Acquires American College Application Campaign (ACAC)

Initiative serves more than 500,000 students and 6,300 schools nationwide, increasing college-going for low-income and first-generation college students

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT, the nonprofit learning, measurement and navigation organization behind the ACT® test, announced today it has acquired the American College Application Campaign® (ACAC) from the American Council on Education® (ACE®). ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, which focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity and achievement for underserved populations and working learners, will oversee and continue to expand the campaign.

ACAC is a national initiative led by leadership teams in 50 states plus the District of Columbia that seeks to increase the number of students from low-income families and first-generation college students that pursue a postsecondary degree, and to help those students navigate the college application and admissions process.

Driven to address the opportunity gap in this country and provide all students with opportunities for success, ACAC state teams work to remove barriers that may prevent underserved students from applying to a postsecondary institution by ensuring that all high school seniors at participating schools have the support they need to complete an application to at least one two- or four-year postsecondary institution. The campaigns are run independently in each state, with public and private entities organizing the effort with guidance and technical assistance from ACAC.

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning has supported and empowered the ACAC program for several years, and now the Center will manage the program.

“We are very excited to bring such an important resource such as ACAC into ACT and grateful to ACE leadership for approaching us with this offer,” said ACT CEO Marten Roorda. “ACAC is a perfect fit for ACT and our mission. We are committed to increasing college access among underserved students, particularly with the work of our Center for Equity in Learning, and becoming the home of the ACAC initiative will help us expand and accelerate our efforts. It will also enable us to serve and empower more students in their college and career journeys as we transition into a learning, measurement, and navigation organization.”

“We have admired and supported the work of ACAC for a long time, as we pursued a mutual goal of helping underserved students transition to college and prepare for college success,” said Jim Larimore, chief officer for ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning. “We know this campaign is an essential part of helping low-income and first-generation college students navigate their educational path in pursuit of their college and career aspirations.”

ACAC’s national reach exceeded 500,000 students in 2017, generating more than 800,000 applications, and its strategy is to accelerate expansion efforts and deepen state-level impact in the years ahead.

“ACE is proud to have served as ACAC’s home for the last seven years,” said Louis Soares, ACE chief learning and innovation officer. “During that time, our team expanded ACAC to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As the initiative’s growth strategy turns to engaging more high schools, I am confident that the team’s move to ACT, which already had been engaged in a successful collaboration with ACAC via its Center for Equity in Learning, will result in significant expansion. We look forward to celebrating ACAC’s continued success as an ACT initiative.”

In its ongoing effort to support all students as they pursue whatever path is right for them, ACAC will encourage all students to apply to higher education and will remain “test-agnostic,” encouraging young people to take a college entrance exam should their pathway require it.

ACT will be able to support ACAC’s continued success by analyzing and supporting the use of data to help improve and expand the campaign in the future.

Terms of the deal have not been released.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career. To learn more, visit

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity, and achievement for underserved populations and working learners. Through purposeful investments, employee engagement, and thoughtful advocacy efforts, the Center supports innovative partnerships, actionable research, initiatives, campaigns, and programs to further ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success.

About ACE

ACE is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, ACE represents more than 1,700 college and university presidents and related associations. For more information, please visit or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.

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