What’s now Arkansas’ Independent Colleges & Universities was founded in March 1954 as the Arkansas Foundation of Associated Colleges. It began as a sort of “United Way” for the state’s private colleges and universities but has since evolved into an organization that also provides extensive governmental affairs and public affairs support for its 10 member institutions.
In July 2015, Dr. Rex Horne became the AICU president after nine years as the president of Ouachita Baptist University. Horne travels statewide to educate business and civic leaders in all parts of Arkansas about the importance of private higher education.
The 10 colleges and universities that are members of AICU are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. AICU is a tax-exempt charitable organization under federal and state laws. All contributions to the AICU scholarship fund are tax deductible.
Sixty percent of undesignated contributions to the AICU scholarship fund are divided equally among the 10 member institutions. The remaining 40 percent of the funds are apportioned according to enrollment. AICU operating costs are paid in the form of dues by the member institutions, meaning that 100 percent of what’s contributed to the AICU scholarship fund is distributed to the schools for student scholarships.
AICU is governed by a board composed of the presidents of the 10 member institutions and a group of the state’s business and civic leaders. AICU is an affiliate of several national organizations. These include the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities, which since 1976 has served as the unified voice in Washington of the nation’s private colleges and universities; the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, a network of state-based private college fund-raising organizations founded in 1959; and FIHE’s parent organization, the Council of Independent Colleges, founded in 1956.
Horne said business leaders should realize that they can get the most results for their charitable giving by funding college scholarships since a college diploma is the best insurance against unemployment. The graduates of AICU institutions are employed at far higher rates than non-college graduates.