What is it?
Academic Common Market (ACM) is a tuition-savings program for college students living in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states who want to pursue degrees that are not offered by their state institutions. Students can enroll in out-of-state institutions that offer their degree programs and pay the institution’s in-state tuition rates. More than 1,900 undergraduate and graduate programs are available.
• South Carolina
Steps to Participate
Visit the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) website to review participating colleges and their degree offerings through ACM.
Select a program eligible for residents of your home state and complete the admission process at SMCM.
You must be accepted as an SMCM degree-seeking student in the specified major with a regular admission status. If you are admitted to SMCM under probationary non-degree-seeking status, you will be ineligible for ACM participation.
Be certified as a resident of your home state by contacting your state’s ACM coordinator. Each participating state has its own application process and timeline. Normally, certification takes approximately four to six weeks. Once you have been approved by your home state for participation in an ACM program, a letter of certification will be sent to SMCM for processing the in-state tuition rate.
Upon receipt of state certification, the ACM coordinator at St. Mary’s College of Maryland will send a memo of approval to the necessary offices on campus to change student status to in-state tuition rates. A copy will be forwarded to the student’s home address.
Students applying for ACM at St. Mary’s College of Maryland should apply to their home state at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to the start of spring and fall semesters. Any delay in receiving certification from a home state could cause students to incur late fees at SMCM. Please note that ACM benefits are not retroactive to previous semesters.
Remaining in the Academic Common Market
Requirements for Remaining in the ACM Program
Change of major and/or concentration, declaring a double major, lack of full-time and continuous enrollment (Fall & Spring semesters only), and lack of good academic standing will lead to loss of the Academic Common Market tuition credit.
Changing Major and/or Concentration
- Students receive an ACM Certification for one specific major only. Any change of major after initial ACM approval will cause a loss of the ACM tuition reduction.
- If you make a change to your ACM major for the current semester you are in, you will owe back the ACM tuition credit received for that semester, and will not receive the ACM tuition credit for upcoming semesters.
- If you make a change to your ACM major for a future semester, you will not receive the ACM tuition credit for the future semester, or for any semester going forward.
- Changing to any other ACM-eligible major and/or concentration requires a new ACM application and Certification for a future semester.
The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) guidelines state, “Independent combinations of available degrees programs … should not be considered, nor should double major/minor combinations that are independently set by students. If both major programs of study qualify for inclusion in ACM, then the state and institution may allow the student to enroll in both programs.
- ACM students that declare a second major that is not ACM eligible for the student’s state of residence will be granted a 5-day grace period to drop the non-ACM eligible major before their ACM tuition reduction is removed.
- ACM students that change out of their ACM-approved major will lose the ACM tuition reduction.
Lack of Full and Continuous Enrollment
Students must be fully and continuously enrolled each major semester (Fall/Spring) in order to receive the ACM tuition credits.
- Undergraduate ACM participants must have a minimum of 12 credit hours each major semester (Fall/Spring).
- Students will receive the ACM tuition credit for part-time or full-time Summer coursework, as well as part-time Winter coursework, including online courses.
- If a student is registered with Disability Support Services and accommodation for a reduced course load is advised, the student must notify the Department Chair and/or Academic Advisor.
ACM will continue without continuous enrollment under the following conditions only:
- Withdrawal due to medical, mental health, or other personal emergencies.
- In order to receive ACM upon your return to SMCM, you must notify the ACM Coordinator in the Registrar’s Office prior to your return, register for coursework in the same ACM-eligible major, and be enrolled full-time (Fall/Spring).
- Study Aboard – Notify the ACM Coordinator prior to leaving for study abroad and upon your return to SMCM in order to receive ACM when registering for the next semester of coursework.
- The ACM tuition credit only covers coursework taken at SMCM, so it will not cover tuition for your study abroad experience.
Poor Academic Standing
You must remain in good academic standing in your ACM-eligible major to continue receiving ACM tuition benefits.
- Students must maintain the required GPA of the program they are in, as well as continue to progress in the required course load for the major.
- Students will continue to receive ACM tuition benefits while on academic probation.
- ACM tuition benefits cease if a student is advised that they must change out of a major and the new major is not an approved ACM major.
- ACM tuition benefits cease if a student fails to raise the cumulative GPA or progress in the required course load for the major.
- ACM tuition benefits cease if a student is placed on Academic Dismissal or cannot register for courses due to a judiciary suspension.
- The ACM program is NOT automatic. If you have selected a major that qualifies for ACM, you must apply through your home state to be certified for ACM.
- The ACM program is not competitive or merit-based, but applicants must meet state residency and SMCM’s program requirements.
- Students will not need to reapply every year for the ACM program, provided they:
- Remain enrolled at SMCM.
- Do not change majors (even to another ACM major, which would require a new home state certification).
- Maintain minimum academic progress standards as outlined in FSU’s undergraduate catalog.
- Retain home state residency.
Have any questions? Please contact:
Office of the Registrar
Glendening Hall Suite 120