The American Council on Education (ACE) serves as the coordinating higher education association for degree-granting colleges and universities and other education-related organizations in the United States. Established in 1918, the Council dedicates itself to the belief that equal educational opportunities and strong higher education systems are essential components of a democratic society. The Council works to represent the views of the higher education community.
The ACE web site incorporates a wide range of information sources relating to education issues such as accreditation, minorities in higher education, financial aid for students, and distance learning. Located in Washington, the Council also provides up-to-date information on new legislation and policies that might affect the activities of colleges and universities. Furthermore, several of the site's incorporated documents address some of the social and political aspects surrounding higher education. Documents include the reports from the President's Task Force on Education, investigations into the use of sweatshop labor for the production of college merchandise, and an outline of the Academic Excellence and Cost Management National Awards Program for institutions that strive to improve academic quality while containing costs. Many of the documents are provided in HTML format, but several PDF files are included.
Although ACE's mission statement indicates that the organization maintains both a domestic and international agenda, there is little information provided that is not directly related to education in the United States. The site is reasonably well organized, but it assumes that one is well informed of the activities of the Council. Individuals unfamiliar with ACE may find it most helpful to use the site index and search options to become acquainted with the site's content. The main site is updated daily, and most of its subdocuments are less than a year old.
ACEnet appears to be directed towards educators and administrators. The ACE membership is comprised of institutions rather than individuals and thus, most of the information provided has value for institutional planners rather than individual instructors. This being said, there is some information included that would be of specific interest to individuals exploring their higher education opportunities. Specifically, there is one section devoted to adult learners which provides information about college training in workplace, General Education Development (GED) training and testing, and recommendations regarding college credit for military programs. Overall, the ACE web site provides a good overview of ACE programs, political initiatives, and publications.