Trade Associations for the education industry | Standards Michigan

Trade Associations for the education industry

Every branch of a typical school district, college or university organization chart seems to have a non-profit trade association competing with other trade associations for membership, sponsor and donor dollars. Many of them claim "leadership"; some claim "international"; a few of them claim hegemony over all the others. Is this the strength of the education industry -- about 4 percent of US gross national product -- or its weakness?


Trade Associations for the education industry

August 11, 2018
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Is the number of trade associations in the

education  industry its strength or its weakness?

The large number of education industry trade associations may well be the defining characteristic of an industry that is both a business and a culture.   Education professionals like to, well — “educate” — and that is likely part of the reason there are so many of them (apart from the incentives for “membership organizations” in the US tax code). None other than a largely non-profit industry could sustain this characteristic.  With this list we hope to enlighten understanding of the regulatory landscape where trade associations compete for membership revenue and the status as the “leader” and “opinion aggregator” for legislators at all levels.

Most education industry trade associations depend upon revenue from interest categories that effectively duplicate the interest categories already present on consensus standards developed according to Due process requirements for American National Standards:   The practical effect of this challenges ANSI balance-of-interest due process requirements.  The weakness of the user-interest is a wicked problem* not the fault of accredited standards developers — they devote significant resources to recruiting user-interest subject matter experts.  The lack of end-user participation resembles the central problem of participatory democracy — and one for which Standards Michigan is developing a solution.

We suggest that it is unwise for consensus standards developers — ANSI accredited, open-source or ad hoc peer-to-peer collaborations — to assume that any one of them can claim authority to speak for an entire industry with one voice.   The list below should support this claim.  National standards bodies, legislators and regulators need to be mindful of this fact.  The fragmentation of interests that we see in American society as a whole is conveyed into the education sector.   This characteristic presents challenges and opportunities.

In approximate alphabetical order:

AACC | American Association of Community Colleges

AACSB | Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Atlantic Association of College and University Student Services

AAC&U | American Association of Colleges and Universities

ABSAP | Association of Business School Business Professionals

ACTE | Association for Career and Technical Education | @actecareertech

American College Counseling Association (ACCA)

American College Personnel Association (ACPA)

Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors – International (ACCED-I)

AACRAO | American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)

AAMG | Association of Academic Museums and Galleries

AASHE | Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

AAU | Amateur Athletic Union

AAU | American Association of Universities

AUCCCD | Association of College Counseling Center Directors 

ACCT | Association of Community College Trustees

ACE | American Council on Education

ACUA | Association of College and University Auditors@ACUA_INFO

ACUI | Association of College Unions International

ACUPA | Association of College and University Policy Administrators

ACUTA | Association of College & University Technology Advancement
(formerly Association of College & University Cable Television Administrators)

Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD)

AIEA | Association of International Education Administrators 

AAHC | Association of Academic Health Centers

ACHA | American College Health Association

Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU)

AAMC | American Association of Medical Colleges

ACSP | Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning

ACUPCC | American College & University Presidents Climate Change Commitment
(changed to SecondNature.ORG)

ADANDD | Association of Deans and Directors of  University Colleges and Undergraduate Studies 

ADEA | American Dental Education Association

AIR | American Institutes for Research

AERA | American Education Research Foundation

Association of Fraternity Advisors (AFA)

AAHHE | American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education

AHEAD | Association on Higher Education and Disability

APPA | Leadership in Education Facilities
(formerly the Association of Physical Plant Administrators)

APLU | Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities

AGB | Association of Governing Boards

Association of Higher Education Parent/Family Programming Professionals (AHEPPP)

AHECTA | Association of Higher Education Cable Television Administrators

ACUHO-i | Association of College & University Housing Officials International

ASHE | Academic Medical Centers

AMCSUS | Association of Military Colleges & Schools of the United States

Association of Arts Administration Educators

Association for Event Management Education

Association of College Student Affairs Professionals

Association of College Administration Professionals (ACAP)

Association for Tertiary Education Management

AUPresses | Association of University Presses

AURP | Association of University Research Parks

AUREO | Association of University Real Estate Officials

ASBO International | Association of School Business Officials International | @ASBOIntl 

Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA)

American Student Government Association (ASGA)

AAUA | American Association of University Administrators

AUA | Association of University Architects

AUE | Association of University Engineers (UK)

AUTM | Association of University Technology Managers

CACUBO | Central Association of College and University Business Officers

California College Personnel Association

California Colleges for International Education (CCIE)

California Community College Student Affairs Association

CFTA | Campus FM Technology Management Association

Campus Parking and Transportation Association

CAPCSD | Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Carnegie Classification of Higher Education Institutions

CASE | Council for Advancement and Support of Education

CCCU | Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

Center for Campus Fire Safety

CGS | Council for Graduate Schools

CHEA | Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Clery Center for Security on Campus

CLSI | Clinical Laboratory Safety Institute (services for-profit research enterprises also)

COGR | Council on Government Relations

Collegiate Information and Visitor Services Association (CIVSA)

Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area 

Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS)

Council of Higher Education Management Associations (CHEMA)

Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

Council on Law in Higher Education (CLHE)

CUCU | College and University Recycling Coalition

CUR | Council on Undergraduate Research

CUPAHR | College and University Professional Association for Human Resources

CSHEMA | Campus Safety and Environmental Management Association

EACUBO | Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers

Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE)

Education Commission of the States

Education Market Association


Educational Theater Association

EFC | Education Facilities Clearinghouse

Smith College Campus Center | Click on image

IAU | International Association of Universities

IACLEA | International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators

IFMA | International Facility Management Association (Has public sector membership)

ICBA | Independent College Bookstore Association

International School Theater Association

IAUP | International Association of University Presidents

International University Theatre Association

Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA)

Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators

MCCA | Michigan Community College Association | @MIColleges



NACUA | National Association of College and University Attorneys

National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)

National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A)

National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, Inc. (NAAHP)

National Center for Campus Public Safety

National Association for Campus Activities (NACA)

National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS)

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

National Association Of School Safety & Law Enforcement Officials

NACCU | National Association of Campus Card Users

National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH)

NACDA | National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics

National Association for Developmental Education (NADE)

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

NASFAA | National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

NBOA | National Business Officers Association

NACUFS | National Association of College & University Food Services

NACUBO | National Association of College and University Business Officers

NACS | National Association of College Stores

NACUMS | National Association of College and University Mail Services

NAFSA | Association of International Educators

NAICU |National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

NCURA | National Council of University Research Administrators

NCAA | National Collegiate Athletic Association

NCCI | National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education

NCEF | National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

NFMA | National Fleet Management Association (Membership includes colleges and universities)

National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP)

NASSP | National Association of Secondary School Principals | @NASSP

NIRSA | National Intramural Recreational Sports Association

NAIA | National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

NIAAA | National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association

National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education | University of Virginia

NCBA | Northwest College Bookstore Association

NJSBGA | New Jersey School Buildings and Grounds Association

NSTA | National School Transportation Association

The Pell Institute

SACS | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

SACUBO | Southern Association of College and University Business Officers

SI | The Simon Institute

SCUP | Society for College and University Planning

SSHEO | State Higher Education Executive Officers Association


Vanderbilt University

University Innovation Alliance

UNA | University Neighborhoods Association

University Resident Theater Association

URMIA | University Risk Management and Insurance Association

WACUBO | Western Association of College and University Business Officers

WHES | Washington Area Higher Education Secretariat


N.B. There are regional subdivisions of the organizations on the foregoing list



Last update: August 11,  2018

  • A “wicked problem” is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. The use of the term “wicked” here has come to denote resistance to resolution, rather than evil.  Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.


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