News & Press: ACSP News

ACSP Considers First Dues Increase in Nearly 20 Years

Tuesday, September 4, 2018  
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September 4, 2018

Dear ACSP Members:

We write to discuss the need for a dues increase. The Executive Committee of the Association and the Governing Board have been discussing this question since Spring 2018, and we strongly believe that the Association’s continued growth requires that we increase our dues.

ACSP last increased dues in 1999. In the nearly 20 years since, inflation alone has eroded the buying power of our dues, while our association’s size and services have grown substantially. Membership has increased in every category (see summary tables at end of this letter), and ACSP has embraced multiple mandates (efforts to diversify and globalize the planning academy and education, and cultivation of a stronger public presence, among others). A few of the benefits of ACSP membership include:

  • Our annual conference now draws close to 1,200 attendees per year. Twenty years ago, our annual conference typically drew less than two-thirds of our present totals (see summary tables). We are always taking steps to enhance the conference experience and stay current, for instance by programming sessions on funded research, advocacy, communication, and pedagogy. We have added poster and lightning presentation sessions and are working to grow them. 
  • The Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER) continues its rise. Thomson-ISI released the 2017 impact factors recently, and JPER is among the most cited planning journals.
  • ACSP provides networked resources to support professional development from doctoral student mentoring to managing the tenure process through a host of workshops, including the junior faculty of color workshop, Ph.D. workshop, pre-doctoral workshop for students of color, JPER writing workshop, and preparing for job market workshop. All of these are new since our dues last increased in 1999.
  • The online Career Center is fully functioning, and member departments get three free ads each year – enough to serve the recruiting needs of most departments and an $807 value compared to the Career Center fee charged to non-member departments.
  • ACSP also supports program leadership through the Administrators Conference, New Chairs School, and diversity initiatives. Several studies commissioned by ACSP have been helping our members adapt to a changing environment, on topics including global education, enrollments, diversity (among faculty, students, and practitioners), workload, and undergraduate education.
  • We have worked to build new partnerships, most notably with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy that has provided $47,000 in funding for 20 curriculum innovation awards.
  •  A team of dedicated staff supports a wider range of operations, including a much improved web site with a wealth of information, member profiles and highlights, weekly newsletters to all member programs, active presence on social media, and app-based conference experience.

In proposing a dues increase, our goal is to stabilize ACSP’s reserve fund and position the Association to take on more complex challenges to grow the planning academy. Our current budgetary situation is precarious, given some recent strategic investments in our new website and communication platform, and the expansion of ACSP staff. Consistently, we have tried to spend within our means and we benefit from a large rank of members volunteering their services, as well as some new sources of revenue including sponsorship. The increased dues will support additional strategic investments, such as annual workshops to attract pre-doctoral students of color, to provide more professional development for program leadership, and to better track data on the planning academy. In making this proposal, we are considering carefully the following factors:

  • We propose a 30 percent increase in the base fee and a 60 percent increase in the capitation for the full membership category. We believe this is a good middle ground for programs with varying sizes and resources. The increase is designed to continue the pattern of charging dues based on rough approximation of program size so that those receiving more services pay more dues. 
  • Student, Individual, and Retired dues will increase by modest amounts, to reflect the likely income constrained circumstance of each of those categories.
  • ACSP’s needs to ensure financial sustainability may entail small-step increases after this, and we will explore these carefully and in consultation with you.

We propose the following annual dues increases to take effect in the coming fiscal year (2018-19). Program-level membership dues have two parts: (1) a base fee, paid by each program, and (2) a per-member capitation fee that applies to each program’s faculty members. More information on membership levels and benefits can be found at

  • Full Membership: Increase the base from $350 to $450, increase capitation from $50 to $80.
  • Affiliate and Corresponding Membership: Increase the base from $115 to $250, increase capitation from $50 to $80.
  • Individual Membership: Increase from $85 to $95.
  • Retired Membership: Increase from $50 to $60.
  • Student Membership: Increase from $35 to $45.

The by-laws require that members receive notice 40 days in advance of a Governing Board vote on a dues increase. We propose the increase to take effect in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. If the increase is approved by the Governing Board at the Fall meeting to be held on October 24, 2018, it will take effect immediately. You will see the new amount on the invoices for membership renewal that will be sent after the Buffalo annual conference. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Executive Committee ( We encourage you to support this proposed dues increase to help ACSP continue to deliver value to our members.

Sincerely yours,

ACSP Executive Committee

Weiping Wu, President
Lois Takahashi, Immediate Past President
Marlon Boarnet, Vice President and President Elect

Carissa Slotterback, Secretary
Joe Grengs, Treasurer




The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


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