A series of activities this past year culminating with the Fiscal-Year 2004 budget development process resulted
in the AACRAO Board of Directors discussing membership dues as an issue. As the discussion continued on this
topic, it became apparent this was not one issue, but a series of complex issues all linked to each other. The
following is a summary of these issues.
1. Institutional Versus Individual Dues AACRAO's Bylaws, Article II, Section 1, address membership eligibility as institutional, but a Member
Resolution approved in April 2000 bases membership dues on institutional size and the number of voting
members. This creates confusion as to whether AACRAO's dues are truly institutional, meaning a certain size
or type of institution pays a specific fee, or member fees, meaning fees are assessed as a flat rate per
2. Dues Equity The 2000 Member Resolution on Voting Membership and Fees states the members shall pay fees "based on their
total enrollment for the preceding fall, as reported to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center
for Educational Statistics." The enrollment being reported is total "headcount" enrollment and this causes an
inequity for institutions such as community colleges and urban universities that enroll a large proportion of
3. Amount of Dues This past year, the Board charged the Vice President of Finance to conduct a review of peer associations. The
purpose of this study was to provide the Board with additional "benchmarks" to assist in the evaluation of
AACRAO's financial performance, including data from Statements of Financial Position, Statements of
Activities, and Executive Compensation. Also included in these benchmarks was a review of membership dues.
Based on this study, AACRAO's membership dues ranked 8th lowest out of 11 "peer" associations. AACRAO's per
member dues ranked next to last in the comparison.
4. Dues and Budget Approval AACRAO's Bylaws currently require member approval for any change in dues. In addition, the dues are included in
the annual budget approval process. The benchmark study of peer associations revealed that only one other
association required member approval of any dues increase. Having a system where members approve the budget,
while closely linked to membership dues, creates timing problems. Based on the current Bylaws, the next fiscal
year budget must be developed more than nine months prior to implementation. This results in the Board having
to approve an operating budget several months later that is a more realistic estimate of projected revenue and
These issues have caused the Board to request a review of AACRAO's dues and dues structure. The Board requested
the Vice President of Finance to convene a task force to study the dues issues and to develop recommendations.
The Dues Task Force is charged to address:
- Should AACRAO assess member dues as institutional dues or individual memberships?
- Should AACRAO develop a more equitable membership dues structure based less on student headcount and more
on institutional budgets or other factors?
- Is AACRAO's current per member dues appropriately set to provide value for the membership services
- Should the Board set member dues without obtaining member approval?
- Should membership approval be required to enact the budget?
Voting members of AACRAO who are interested in serving on this taskforce are invited to submit a letter of
interest. The AACRAO Board of Directors recognizes the difficulty of the charge and will expect the Taskforce to
be thorough in its deliberations. The Taskforce should publish its finding by September 1, 2003. This timeline
would allow the Board time to discuss the Taskforce recommendations and evaluate proposals for bylaws
changes-should any be recommended-90 days in advance of the 2004 Business Session Annual Meeting, as required by