What is the Academic Common Market (ACM)?

Southern Studies is an approved ACM program at the University of Mississippi.  This means we offer resident tuition rates for non-resident students.  In other words, if you major in Southern Studies (never a bad idea), you can save big bucks on the cost of college.

ACM Process (2023-2024)

The application process is quite involved and subject to change depending on the volume of applicants, students retained in the SST undergraduate major, and ACM awards finalized each year.  We encourage ACM applicants to begin the process at least three months before beginning SST coursework.

Click here to download/print a simplified ACM Process Checklist (2023-2024).

STEPS TO ACM

1) Search here at the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to see if your state of residence is eligible, if the University of Mississippi is an eligible institution, and if SST is an eligible program for you.  Most states in the SREB other than Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, are eligible for ACM via SST at UM.  The answer should also be googleable.  Just search for “Academic Common Market” and [insert home state] and start there.

2) Once accepted to the University of Mississippi, you must complete the “Special Programs Application” to SST in my.olemiss.edu.  You can access the application once you declare your intention to attend UM and major in SST. Competitive applicants will ideally have a high school or college GPA of 3.0 and thoughtful reasons for why they want to major in SST and add to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture’s mission

The application process for the SST major depends on your student status:

— Incoming freshmen: Once accepted to UM, the applicant will have access to the online “Special Programs Application.” In addition to the general information required from all students, applicants will select the Southern Studies option to address short prompts regarding their interest in the SST major. The deadline for first-year incoming students to apply to the Southern Studies program is February 15 and decisions are announced on or before March 30. Until students receive notification of their acceptance into Southern Studies, they will be designated as Freshman Studies majors.

— Incoming transfer students: Once accepted to UM, transfer students will complete the application found on the Center for the Study of Southern Culture website (forthcoming). February 15 is the deadline for students starting in the fall semester; October 15 for those starting in the spring semester.  Students will receive notification of their acceptance into Southern Studies in a similar timeframe to all incoming students.

— Current UM students: Current UM students should complete the application found here, addressing all prompts regarding their interest in the SST major. Decisions are made on a rolling basis for current UM students.

3) If eligible for ACM and accepted to the SST major via the “Special Programs” application, you may now begin your separate, home-state ACM application in full.  Most states require proof of admission to the university and proof of admission to the SST major.  That typically includes your UM admissions letter, but one that now details you as a SST major. Once you’re admitted to the SST major, admissions can re-issue this letter stating SST as your major if necessary. See a sample UM admissions letter — with SST now designated as a major — here.

4) If  your home state approves your ACM application, it will send an ACM certification to you and to the Provost’s office at UM.  The Provost’s office will double-check your major in the registrar’s system and make sure you are accepted to UM and a declared SST major.  Then, the Provost’s office will send an ACM approval letter from UM to you (and a copy to SST).  Congrats! Your application is halfway to full approval. Take a breather until summer orientation and registration for Fall 2023, which will be held in May-July 2023.

5) In May-July 2023, during summer orientation and/or registration for Fall 2023, an orientation advisor or SST’s undergraduate advisor(s) will need to check over your booked coursework.  If an incoming student, you’ll likely set up an appointment with an orientation advisor to plan your first-term coursework, although SST’s undergraduate advisor(s) may be in the loop.  If you don’t meet with an orientation advisor, then you will meet with an undergraduate advisor in SST.  Regardless, before orientation and before your advising appointment, there will be an advising block on your account, which will keep you from signing up for courses.

Advising/registration is when ACM really counts. We’ll need to make sure you are booked for at least one SST major-related course each semester, typically SST101 for first-year students, and other courses in the major for upper-level students.  You’ll need to enroll in SST-related coursework in each subsequent term.  That satisfies most home states’ and UM’s requirement of “progress toward degree.”

Note: The ACM cannot be used just for a SST minor or double majoring.  It can only be used for a SST major toward a B.A. in SST (plus required minor in another discipline).

6) After conducting a final audit in late July or early August to ensure you’re enrolled in coursework for Fall 2023 that includes a “full time” schedule and SST-related coursework, an SST undergrad advisor will initiate a formal request that Financial Aid approve your ACM discount.   You will receive a receipt for this ACM request via your student my.olemiss email.  This request is not final approval, but it will let the Financial Aid office know that you’ve cleared all the various institutional thresholds and they should grant you the ACM discount.

Financial Aid will then approve the request and will let the Bursar know to make the adjustment to your billing.  If all the ducks are in a row, you will see the discount applied for the Fall term’s bill when the Bursar sends it out for payment (e.g., typically August 15 for Fall, although discounts can be applied as late as midterm).

7) After the discount is applied, it rolls over term-after-term as long as the following conditions are met: enroll “full time,” enroll in SST-related coursework, and keep your overall GPA above 2.5.  For any course to count toward the major or its requisite minor, it also requires a C or higher for a final grade.  Also note that Summer and Intersession terms have different definitions of “full time” in terms of hours.  Moreover, only a course schedule that includes at least one SST-related course can garner ACM benefits for all non-regular terms outside of Fall and Spring.

Questions or Concerns?

We recognize this is an involved and likely confusing process.  Hence, if you have any questions regarding the application for admission to SST and/or ACM, please direct them to Mr. Kell Kellum, ACM Coordinator in Southern Studies, at: wlkellum@olemiss.edu.