Academic Common Market Offers Relief for College Tuition

Posted By Jason Carson Wilson on May 6, 2015 at 11:23 am
Academic Common Market Offers Relief for College Tuition

Students who are residents of 15 southern states can take advantage of a unique tuition-savings program. The Academic Common Market (ACM) allows learners in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) area to pursue degrees at out-of-state schools for in-state tuition.

“Through the [ACM], students can easily enroll in programs that their states may not offer,” Mary Larson, director of SREB’s student access programs and services, said in a press release.  “It’s a win-win for students and the states in the SREB region — students save on tuition, and institutions can attract more students.”

To qualify, high school and college students as well as adult learners must:

  • Be a resident of one of the 15 SREB states
  • Select a program eligible for residents of their home state
  • Complete the admission process at the institution offering the eligible ACM program
  • Be certified as a resident of your home state by contacting the ACM coordinator for your state of residence

Participating states include Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Students must meet residency and college program requirements.

Nearly 1,900 undergraduate and graduate programs are available, all of which can be found at SREB’s website. Depending on the state, the Academic Common Market provides access to both face-to-face and online courses.

However, it’s not exactly a full-service program. According to SREB, Texas doesn’t include online courses in its ACM inventory. In addition, many states only include “selected” online programs, if no similar programs are offered in-state. Professional degrees, including law medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and optometry, aren’t part of the inventory, either.

However, ACM’s creation helps remedy one common problem: it “reduces the unnecessary duplication of academic programs among participating states,” according to the SREB.

The SREB launched the ACM in 1974, and there were more than 2,460 certified students as of 2014, according to spokesperson Matia Edwards.. She said the organization doesn’t track “successful” ACM students, or students who graduate from their respective programs.

While the Academic Common Market is a great resource for students in the South, the economy could very well stand in the way of it becoming a national phenomenon. Georgia Tech ended its participation in 2011 citing a tight budget and the high cost of subsidizing out-of-state students.

Jason Carson Wilson
Jason Carson Wilson is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former daily newspaper reporter with extensive education writing experience. Jason has covered issues like education and minority affairs for many different news outlets during his career.

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