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About Us

The Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities (APCU) was incorporated in 1995 as an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the support and advancement of colleges and universities that maintain a historical affiliation to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). These institutions stretch across the continental U.S. from St. Petersburg, Florida to Spokane, Washington and around the world from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Daejeon, South Korea. APCU member schools annually serve nearly 150,000 students at the undergraduate level and through graduate and professional programs.

Overall, more than 30% of the students enrolled at APCU schools in the U.S. are members of minority groups and over 36% were Pell-eligible (as of the 2017-18 academic year). On average, more than 90% of the students attending APCU schools in the U.S. receive gift aid from their respective institutions, which helps to keep the net-price (after financial aid is applied) at the vast majority of APCU schools well below $20,000 annually.

The social and faith climates at our member schools cut across the spectrum from very conservative to very progressive. The most common faith tradition cited by students attending APCU schools is “none”. On average, only 4% of the students on APCU campuses identify as Presbyterian. In addition to Roman Catholic students and those representing a range of Protestant denominations, many of our campuses serve a significant number of Jewish, Muslim and Hindus students.

Six APCU member schools are regarded as “majority minority” institutions, meaning that racial and/or ethnic minorities comprise at least 50% of their enrollments. These schools include two HBCUs, Stillman College (Alabama) and Johnson C. Smith University (North Carolina) as well as Agnes Scott College (Georgia), Belhaven University (Mississippi), Bloomfield College (New Jersey), and William Peace University (North Carolina).

On behalf of its membership, the APCU:

  • Advocates the importance of higher education within/across the agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
  • Serves as a resource on market trends, institutional advancement strategy, church doctrine, and legislative activity to member institutions
  • Assists presidents in the development of strategies, models and tactics that advance their respective institutional missions
  • Creates/maintains strategic partnerships that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of member institutions
  • Administers a range of programs and services that strengthen and distinguish member institutions

Governance and Finance

The APCU is governed by a board of directors consisting of presidents from 12 member institutions, the president of the Presbyterian College Chaplains Association (PCCA), the executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and the executive director of the APCU. Board members serve three-year terms which can be extended for an additional three years. In 2016, the APCU expanded its membership to include chaplains who are members of the Presbyterian College Chaplains Association (PCCA). This was done to strengthen the relationship between the APCU and the PCUSA and to assist APCU members with the development of an appropriate spiritual/faith climate on their respective campuses. While the work being done by the PCCA is fairly independent from the work being done by the APCU, the chaplains and presidents meet every three years to discuss opportunities and challenges associated with our Presbyterian-relatedness and the role of spirituality and faith across our campuses.

The presidents of APCU member schools serve as institutional representatives and have the authority to vote on behalf of their respective schools at an annual Members’ Meeting. The Members’ Meeting takes place in the context of an annual Presidents’ Retreat which is usually held in March.
The work of the APCU is supported primarily from annual dues paid by member institutions. Dues are based on a formula that considers each institution’s full-time enrollment, annual operating budget, and endowment. Additional funding comes from APCU strategic partners (vendors), foundations, and special solicitations in support of specific APCU projects.

Covenant with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The APCU maintains a renewable covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This covenant defines how the APCU and the PMA will support each other to further the mission of APCU-member institutions and the church’s historical commitment to higher education. For a copy of the covenant, contact the APCU office.

In addition, most APCU member institutions maintain independent covenants with an agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), such as a synod or presbytery, or with the APCU. These covenants, which express mutual support, vary widely and typically have a ten-year duration. One excellent example of such a covenant can be found on the Eckerd College website.

    Association of Presbyterian Colleges & Universities
    Agnes Scott College, Box 1102
    141 E. College Avenue | Decatur, GA 30030
    470.443.1948  | 
    info@presbyteriancolleges.org