Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Academic Common Market?
- The Academic Common Market is a tuition-savings program for college students in 15 SREB states who want to pursue degrees that are not offered by public institutions in their home state. Students can enroll in out-of-state institutions and pay the institution’s in-state tuition rates for more than 2,200 undergraduate and graduate programs.
- The ACM is not competitive or merit-based, but applicants must meet state residency and college admission requirements.
- The ACM reduces the unnecessary duplication of academic programs among participating states, recognizing that it is impractical for any institution or single state to develop or maintain degree programs in every field of knowledge.
- The ACM supports existing degree programs that have the capacity to serve additional students by providing access across state lines for programs not available in a student’s home state.
- Doctoral-level programs for a first professional degree are not eligible.
What states participate in SREB’s Academic Common Market?
- Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
- Florida and Texas participate only at the graduate level.
- Visit your state’s ACM Web page for more information.
Residents of SREB affiliates - Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Washington DC - are not eligible to participate in the ACM.
- To qualify for the Academic Common Market, a student must
- be a resident of one of 15 participating states listed above
- select a program that is approved for the ACM for their home state
- be admitted unconditionally into that program
- meet state residency and college admissions requirements
How do you apply for the Academic Common Market?
- If you live in one of the 15 participating states, begin by searching for programs available to residents of your state.
- Apply to the institution offering your desired program.
- Once admitted to the institution, contact your state ACM coordinator and complete the ACM application process in your home state to be certified as a state resident.
What is my state’s certification process?
- The specific required documents and certification vary by state, but generally residents are required to provide evidence of their residency, such as a driver’s license, voter registration, state tax return or other approved documents.
- Check your state’s ACM website for information on deadlines for submitting an application.
- To avoid the last-minute flood of applications (particularly in July and August) and tuition adjustments, it is wise to start the application process early, before registration takes place.
- Once you have completed the Academic Common Market application and residency verification documents, your home state ACM coordinator will determine your eligibility to participate in the program and the certification date (for the current term or the following term).
- There is no need to reapply for ACM once you have received approval from the home state coordinator as long as you are continuously enrolled in the same program, do not change majors, and maintain your home state residency.
- If your eligibility to participate changes, you must be recertified by your home state coordinator if you wish to reapply for ACM status.
- Visit your state’s ACM web page for more information.
How long does it take to process my application?
- Processing times vary from state to state. Please check with your ACM state coordinator for the time frames.
- For existing Academic Common Market programs, it usually takes 1 to 2 months to process an application. If you are requesting a new program, allow 2 to 3 months.
How do I check the status of my Academic Common Market application?
- To check the status of your ACM application, please contact your state ACM coordinator.
What colleges and universities participate in the Academic Common Market?
- More than 100 colleges and universities from 15 SREB states offer over 2,200 undergraduate or graduate programs for the ACM. Your home state has determined which institutions and specific programs are available to you through the ACM.
- View a list of participating universities in a state.
How do you search for eligible programs?
- Use our program search tool and select your home state in the drop-down box.
- Search by degree level, state and institution.
- Then select the program you are interested in for more information. If you have questions, select the institution name to find contact information for the ACM institutional coordinator.
- Follow the link for online applications and more information about the institution.
Are distance learning degree programs offered?
- Yes, the Academic Common Market also offers students the opportunity to pursue degree programs via distance education. The same eligibility requirements apply.
What if the program I am interested in is not on the list?
- If you are interested in a program not included in the inventory for your state, it may be for the following reasons:
- The program is offered at a public institution in your home state.
- The program has not been previously requested by a resident of your state.
- The college or university may not participate in the Academic Common Market.
- State legislation may not allow for participation.
- If the program you are interested in meets ACM guidelines, you may request that the program be added to the inventory. Contact your state ACM coordinator for more information about adding programs and to send an inquiry on your behalf.
- Doctoral-level programs for a first professional degree are not eligible.
Are there any other restrictions on available programs?
- Yes, restrictions can be set at the discretion of the participating college or university, or the participating state.
- Your eligibility for the Academic Common Market is dependent on your enrollment status. In addition, students must meet the ACM requirements of the college they attend, which may include full-time enrollment and maintaining a specified GPA.
- Students who must complete course work before they are fully admitted to the program of study are not eligible for ACM tuition savings until they are formally accepted into the major.
- For more information on your state’s program restrictions or availability, contact your state ACM coordinator using the list below:
|Alabama||Alabama Commission on Higher Education|
|Arkansas||Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board|
|Delaware||Delaware Higher Education Office|
|Florida (graduate level only)||State University System of Florida Board of Governors|
|Georgia||Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
Technical College System of Georgia
|Kentucky||Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education|
|Louisiana||Louisiana Board of Regents|
|Maryland||Maryland Higher Education Commission|
|Mississippi||Mississippi Board of Trustees State Institutions of Higher Learning|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education|
|South Carolina||South Carolina Commission on Higher Education|
|Tennessee||Tennessee Higher Education Commission|
(graduate level only)
|Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board|
|Virginia||Virginia State Council of Higher Education|
|West Virginia||West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission|
What if I change my major or program?
- Most Academic Common Market institutions will not require you to pay back tuition for the years that you received ACM benefits if you change your major or program to one not approved for the ACM for residents of your state.
- If you change your major during a semester, the institution may charge you the out-of-state tuition rate for that semester.
- If you change your major to a different program that is included in the ACM, you must be recertified by your state coordinator.
- Please check with your home state ACM coordinator before you change your major.
Can Academic Common Market students double major in a program that is not ACM-eligible?
No. ACM students are permitted to double major, but only if both programs are eligible. Adding an ineligible program will disqualify students from the ACM benefit starting the semester they begin the ineligible program.
State Participation Questions
If I’m a Florida, North Carolina or Texas resident, can I participate?
- Florida and Texas participate in the ACM at the graduate level only. Residents of these states can only pursue graduate studies (master’s level or higher) to participate.
- As a result of the General Assembly of North Carolina’s Appropriations Act of 2011, North Carolina no longer participates in the ACM.
What if my state is not a member of SREB?
- If your state is Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington or Wyoming, visit the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) website. For more information, go to Western Undergraduate Exchange and the Professional Student Exchange Program.
- If your state is Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio or Wisconsin, visit the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) website. The Midwest Student Exchange Program Overview (MSEP) is a voluntary program (as are all MHEC programs), and only seven of the 11 states participate. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio do not participate in MSEP at this time. South Dakota is an eligible state but has not yet joined MHEC. South Dakota is currently a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). For more information, visit the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.
- If your state is Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont, visit the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) website. For more information, go to Tuition Break.
- Although Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are SREB affiliates, residents of these territories/states/districts are not eligible to participate in the ACM. Residents should check with their higher education agencies for information on tuition assistance.