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Academic Common Market

Frequently Asked Questions about the Academic Common Market

What is the Academic Common Market (ACM)?

The Academic Common Market (ACM) is a tuition savings program for college students from selected states in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) who want to pursue degrees that are not offered by their home state institutions. If approved, students can enroll in out-of-state institutions that offer their degree programs and pay only the in-state tuition rates. The ACM program is not competitive or merit-based, but applicants must meet home state residency requirements and college program admissions requirements. To qualify for the Academic Common Market, a student must be a resident of an SREB member state, be admitted unconditionally into the institution and program that is approved by the home state, and be certified by the home state to participate. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their respective ACM coordinator to determine if the desired degree program qualifies within their state.

What degree programs has Coastal Carolina University made available through the ACM?

  • Dramatic Arts (BA) - This program is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in stage management, arts administration, playwriting, or directing which requires the study of more than one area of theatre. This program allows more flexibility than the B.F.A.; however, students are encouraged to take an active role in designing their own degree plan.
  • Marine Science (BS) - Marine Science at Coastal Carolina is an interdisciplinary field that employs aspects of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics toward the study of the ocean environment. Lecture, laboratory, and field experiences are integrated to provide an outstanding and well-rounded academic program. Students may choose to concentrate their studies in one of the following areas: marine biology, coastal geology, marine chemistry, atmosphere/ocean dynamics or marine analytical technology.
  • Middle Level Education (BA) - Content specializations available in mathematics/science/social studies or English/language arts. Middle Level Education is a program of study that leads to initial South Carolina teacher licensure for grades five through eight in two content areas. This program includes: 1) foundation courses that provide the framework for teaching adolescents in the 21st century, 2) major requirement courses that focus on the art and science of teaching in the middle grades, and 3) content specialization courses that are defined according to two chosen areas.
  • Musical Theatre (BFA) - Designed to prepare future actor-singers for the professional theatre, this interdisciplinary program focuses on developing the skills and professionalism required by a career in the theatre. Students receive technique training in acting complemented by training in vocal technique, musicianship, dance, and the study of the repertoire of the musical theatre in print and recordings, as well as in rehearsal and performance.
  • Theatre Arts (BFA)- Concentrations are available in Acting, Design & Technology, and Physical Theatre:

    • Acting - Designed to prepare future actor-singers for the professional theatre. This interdisciplinary program focuses on developing the skills and professionalism required by a career in the theatre. The goal of the program is to cultivate practitioners for the theatre and entertainment industry.
    • Physical Theatre - Designed to instruct students in a large variety of applied physical performance methods, including instruction in classic clowning, circus skills, acrobatics, mime, dance, character development, professionalism, and the creation of original material. The structured, intensive, studio-based training will prepare them to function in the professional entertainment world.
    • Design & Technology - Designed to prepare students for professional careers as designers, technical directors, costume directors and technicians in professional entertainment or for continued study in graduate school. Students have the opportunity to build a strong professional portfolio that will help them enter the professional theatre or seek further training at top graduate design schools.

How do I apply for the Academic Common Market for an available degree program?

  1. Apply to Coastal Carolina University and be granted full admission into one of the available academic programs listed above,
  2. confirm that the desired degree program is not offered by a college or university within your home state,
  3. complete and submit an ACM certification application to your state's designated agency,
  4. submit the required documentation to verify state residency, and
  5. be certified by your home state to participate in the ACM through Coastal Carolina University.

What is my state's certification process?

Acceptance for participation through the Academic Common Market will be determined by your state's ACM coordinator and based upon degree program availability and verification of residency. Generally, you will be required to research your degree program's availability within your home state and provide evidence of your residency by submitting documents such as a driver’s license, voter registration card, state tax return or other instruments that the state may require. Individual state application deadlines may exist. Please allow up to two months for processing. To avoid the last minute flood of applications (particularly in July and August) and to avoid late tuition adjustments, it is wise to start the application process approximately two months prior to the beginning of the semester; however, students must be fully admitted into an eligible degree program prior to submitting documents to their respective state representative. Students who are admitted in a “pre-major” status are not eligible for the ACM (exception made for Middle Level Education Pre-Major students).

Does Coastal Carolina University require me to enroll as a full-time student in order to qualify for the ACM tuition waiver?

Yes, Coastal Carolina University requires students receiving the ACM tuition waiver to enroll full-time each eligible term. Full-time enrollment requires students to register for a minimum of twelve (12) credit hours per semester. The ACM tuition waiver is prorated for students enrolled less than full-time in the summer terms only unless prohibited by an SREB state. Please check with your state for clarification of full-time during summer terms.

Are other scholarships available for out-of-state students who receive the ACM tuition waiver?

The ACM tuition waiver is sponsored by Coastal Carolina University and is not paid by the home state. Because of the significant reduction in tuition for approved students, ACM students are not eligible for Coastal Carolina University’s merit-based scholarships. When new students are admitted to the University and qualify for both the ACM tuition waiver and a merit scholarship, the student will be required to select which scholarship s/he will accept. Merit-based scholarships allow the student to change majors, whereas the ACM program requires that student remains in the ACM major in order to continue to receive the tuition waiver each semester and summer term. The student must choose one option at the point of matriculation. (Merit scholarships include: Distinguished, President's, Provost's, Coastal Scholar, Coastal Transfer, Admissions, and Visual and Performing Arts Awards.)

Students who accept the ACM tuition waiver are not eligible for other scholarship, stipend, or athletic assistance provided through institutional waivers. When a student is originally admitted into a non-ACM eligible major but later changes to an eligible major and is awarded the ACM tuition waiver, all merit-based scholarships will be canceled by the University. Students who are granted the ACM waiver may, however, still be considered for admission into the Honors Program and for the Chanticleer Band Program Award.

How can I obtain additional information?

For more information and to determine if you may qualify for participation through the Academic Common Market, please contact your state representative listed below.


Paul B. Mohr, Sr.
P.O. Box 302000
Montgomery, AL 36130-2000
334-242-2209 (P); 334-242-0270 (F)
Email: Paul.mohr@ache.alabama.gov http://www.ache.state.al.us/Students&Parents/ProgramSelect.htm#
Lillian Williams
114 E Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201-3818
501-371-2038 (P); 501-371-2002 (F)
Email: lillianw@adhe.edu
Cynthia Kirkpatrick
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE 19801
302-577-3240 (P); 302-577-6765 (F)
Email: ckirkpatrick@doe.k12.de.us
Deborah Sullivan
270 Washington Street S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30334-1450
404-656-0765 (P); 404-651-5190 (F)
Email: Deborah.sullivan@usg.edu http://www.usg.edu/academic_programs/accreditation/ academic_common_market/
Linda H. Linville
1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 320
Frankfort, KY 40601
502-573-1555 x253 (P); 502-696-7373 (F)
Email: Linda.Linville@ky.gov
Jeannine Kahn
1201 N. Third St., Suite 6-200
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
225-342-4253 (P); 225-342-9318 (F)
Email: Jeannine.Kahn@regents.la.gov
Maryland Higher Education Commission
6 N Liberty St, 10th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
410-767-3301 (P); 410-332-0270 (F)
Email: acm@mhec.state.md.us
Pearl Pennington
3825 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 29211
301-432-6482 (P); 601-432-6978 (F)
Email: Pearl@ihl.state.ms.us
Debbie Blanke
655 Research Parkway, Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
405-225-9170 (P); 405-225-9230 (F)
Email: ckirkpatrick@doe.k12.de.us
Penny Shelton
404 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243-0830
615-532-6613 (P); 615-741-6230 (F)
Email: acm.coordinator@tn.gov
Darlene Derricott
101 North 14th Street, 9th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
804-225-2621 (P) 804-225-2604 (F)
Email: darlenederricott@schev.edu
Mark W. Stotler
1018 Kanawha Blvd. East – Suite 700
Charleston, WV 25301-2827
304-558-0262 (P); 304-558-1646 (F)
Email: stotler@hepc.wvnet.edu

Note: Students must be fully admitted into an eligible degree program prior to submitting documents to their respective state representative. Students who are admitted in a “pre-major” status are not eligible for the ACM (exception made for Middle Level Education Pre-Major students).

Each participating SREB state has a coordinator for the Academic Common Market. For the most accurate listing of state coordinators’ names and addresses, please visit the SREB Web site at www.sreb.org or call the SREB in Atlanta at (404) 875-9211. Florida, North Carolina, and Texas are also members of the SREB but only offer the Academic Common Market at a graduate level.

(updated 05/08/12—information is subject to change without notification)