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The Council of Independent Colleges is a service organization for educational institutions in the United States, founded in 1956.

It describes itself as "an association of independent colleges and universities working together to:support college and university leadership,advance institutional excellence, and, enhance private higher education's contributions to society. CIC is the major national service organization for all small and mid-sized, independent, liberal arts colleges and universities in the U.S." [1]

To join the Council as a full member, a U.S. college or university must grant baccalaureate degrees, must demonstrate a commitment to liberal arts and sciences through its curriculum offerings and degree requirements, must have been in operation for at three years, and must be accredited or have candidate status with a U.S. regional accrediting association. Similar institutions outside the U.S. may join as international members, and independent, nonprofit two-year institutions may qualify for associate membership.[2]

One of CIC's services to its member institutions is its Tuition Exchange Program, a network of about 350 CIC colleges and universities that are willing to accept, tuition-free, students from families of full-time employees of other participating institutions.[3]

In June 2007 the Annapolis Group announced plans to partner with the CIC and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities to develop a web-based database system for providing information to prospective students and families to use in the college search process as an alternative to the U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings survey.[4]

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