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Catholic colleges and universities are not for Catholics only. We welcome collaborators who value our vision and our traditions.


Did you know that 26 religious orders each sponsor just one Catholic institution of higher education?

About Catholic Higher Ed

More than 200 colleges and universities in the United States are designated by their religious congregations or bishops as Catholic institutions. Among their common characteristics:


What makes our institutions Catholic?

In 1990, Pope John Paul II issued Ex corde Ecclesiae, an apostolic constitution that identifies the common characteristics of all Catholic colleges and universities. According to that document, Catholic institutions of higher learning are defined by:

  • Shared Christian vision and goals.
  • Reflection in the light of faith.
  • Fidelity to tradition.
  • Commitment to service.


Blessed John Henry Newman, originally a priest in the Church of England before converting to Catholicism, has long been an influential figure in Catholic higher education. His book, The Idea of a University, was first published in 1852 but remains a work considered "a living document that can guide Catholic colleges and universities through tumultuous times and unforeseen challenges."1 Newman will be proclaimed a saint on October 13, 2019, and ACCU has gathered selected resources to celebrate Newman's canonization.

1 Source: Boegel, Ellen. "A Framework for Success: Newman's Recipe for Right Relationships between Catholic Colleges and Universities and Their Increasingly Non-Catholic Administrators, Faculty, and Students," Journal of Catholic Higher Education, winter 2012, vol. 31(1), Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.


Visit our other web pages for more information about the
values — and value — of Catholic higher education!

Find a Catholic College

Search the ACCU member directory to locate a Catholic college or university in the United States or around the world

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about enrollment levels, costs, or other aspects of Catholic higher education? Have your questions answered on our FAQs page


Looking for some quick facts and interesting stats about Catholic colleges and universities?  ACCU offers an array of infographics