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ACM Program Overview

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the state higher education agencies of the participating states - Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia - administer the Academic Common Market (ACM) program.

The program operates on the premise that if public institutions (no private institutions can participate) in a student’s home state do not offer a comparable degree program (undergraduate or graduate) that a student intends on pursuing, then he/she may attend a participating out-of-state institution offering the degree of interest and be granted a waiver of out-of-state tuition charges.

Traditional (residential) and distance learning (on-line) programs are available and must lead to the conferral of a baccalaureate, master’s, specialist’s or doctoral degree. Campus-based programs are offered via the ACM and on-line via the Academic Common Market/Electronic Campus (ACM/EC).

The ACM serves as a cost-saving measure for both parents and students as in-state tuition rates are lower than out-of-state rates. It is also a savings to the Commonwealth, as these programs do not have to be duplicated here in Virginia. Numerous undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available to Virginia residents. 

Virginia ACM Eligibility Requirements:

In order for a student to qualify for the Academic Common Market, the student must be able to prove that he/she is a resident of Virginia. He/she must be a full-time student enrolled in the pursuit of a degree; must have a letter of acceptance (conditional or provisional acceptances are not eligible) into the specific program of study offered at the out-of-state institution and this program must be listed in the ACM and available to Virginia residents.

Students who have been provisionally admitted or have outstanding issues associated with their admission must resolve those issues with the participating institution before being certified for ACM participation. ACM Institutional Coordinators contact information is available at http://home.sreb.org/acm/participating/institutionstates.aspx.

The Certification Process:

As part of the agreement, states must certify residency in order for students to participate in the ACM. Certification is a one-time-only procedure provided that the student's academic major, residency and institutional requirements remain unchanged. To begin the certification process, students must complete the Application for Participation in the Academic Common Market and mail it along with required documents to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Generally, the review process is approximately three to four weeks and varies depending on the number of applications received; therefore, the student is strongly advised to submit his/her ACM application at least six weeks prior to the start of the classes, whichever is earlier. The process will be delayed unless all questions are completed, all documentation is attached, and the application is signed and dated by the appropriate person(s).

SCHEV accepts ACM applications year-round. The institution sets deadline dates for designation as an in-state student/ACM participant. We strongly advise you to contact your institution for that information.

If the student is approved as a resident, SCHEV will issue a certification letter for ACM participation to both the student and the participating institution. The institution will either grant a tuition waiver or simply classify the student as an in-state resident. The institution sets its own policy for granting and implementing the tuition waivers, including but not limited to enrollment requirements, and deadlines for tuition payments. Students will not receive in-state tuition rates until the institution makes the final decision. For example, if a student applies during the fall semester, the institution has the discretion not to make the waiver effective until the spring semester. Also, waivers and in-state tuition rates are not retroactive prior to the ACM effective date, except at the discretion of the participating institution.

Programs Availability:

Virginia residents may apply for certification by submitting applications only for programs listed in the current inventory.  Click on the links below to see programs available to Virginia residents who meet eligibility. Programs can be removed or added anytime by participating states and institutions without notice.

Distance learning programs are denoted in the listings by the label "ACM/EC" meaning that the offering is through the Academic Common Market and the Electronic Campus, both administered by SREB.

Beginning September 1, 2009, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) is not processing any new program requests for additions to the inventory of out of state programs available to Virginia residents through the ACM.  This restriction will remain in effect until further notice.

Application for Participation in the Academic Common Market (ACM):

Virginia residents may submit no more than one ACM application. The completed ACM application, a copy of the acceptance letter into the approved major, and all supporting documents must be mailed to:

Academic Common Market
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
James Monroe Building,
101 North Fourteenth Street, 9th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

If your parents, a legal guardian, or spouse provide(s) 50% or more of your financial support and/or claim you as a tax dependent, you should classify yourself as a “dependent” student on the ACM application for residency purposes. All supporting documentation proving Virginia residency that must accompany your ACM application should bear this individual’s name. Typically, undergraduate students who are under age 24 are classified as dependents.

Visit the SCHEV Virginia domicile page for more information on establishing residency in Virginia.

General Restrictions

Alabama

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Maryland

Mississippi

North Carolina

Oklahoma

South Carolina

Texas

Virginia

West Virginia

Other Information

Public Law 93-579, referred to as the Federal Privacy Act, requires that any federal, state, or local agency that requests an individual to disclose a Social Security number inform the individual by which statutory or other authority the number is solicited, whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, and what uses could be made of it. SCHEV requests each applicant to submit a social security number on a voluntary basis. SCHEV uses a student’s Social Security number for unique identification purposes in the certification process.