How American College of Education is Leading the Way

American College of Education (ACE) is a private, nonprofit college based in Indianapolis, Indiana that focuses on providing online degree and certificate programs for educators. Founded in 2005, ACE aims to support teacher development through affordable, accessible online education.

Key facts about ACE:

  • Founded in 2005 in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Specializes in online education degrees and certificates 
  • Over 3,500 students enrolled (as of 2018)
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
  • Offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs as well as certificates
  • Emphasizes curriculum focused on real-world application and career advancement
  • Committed to providing an affordable education option for teachers


Founded in 2005 by innovative educator Dr. Shawntel Landry, the American College of Education remains dedicated to its founding vision of empowering leadership. After a distinguished career as an administrator and educator, Dr. Landry envisioned a college that would prepare aspiring leaders in education. She sought to build an institution focused on mentorship and hands-on learning.  

ACE opened its doors with a single Master’s program, focused on producing graduates ready to be principals and other administrators. The initial courses were designed by Dr. Landry, drawing from her decades of experience. From the beginning, the curriculum emphasized leadership development and educational theory.

The college was purposely structured as an exclusively online institution, aiming to reach working educators and expand access to advanced degrees. In the early years, enrollments grew steadily under Dr. Landry’s leadership. Her commitment to mentoring students directly played an important role in building the university’s reputation.

Academic Programs

American College of Education (ACE) offers a wide range of online master’s and doctoral degree programs for students looking to advance their careers in education. ACE is focused on providing flexible and affordable advanced degree programs for working educators and administrators.  

ACE offers online master’s degrees in areas like curriculum and instruction, special education, leadership, and reading. The master’s programs are geared towards current teachers and administrators looking to specialize or advance in their field. Courses are delivered entirely online in an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete coursework on their own schedule.

Some of ACE’s most popular master’s programs include:

  • Master of Education (MEd) in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master of Education (MEd) in Special Education 
  • Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership

At the doctoral level, ACE provides online EdD and PhD degrees in fields like educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, and special education. These programs are designed for educators interested in pursuing leadership roles or advancing their research skills.

Notable doctoral programs include:

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education (EdD) in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Special Education

A hallmark of ACE’s programs is the emphasis on applying theory and best practices directly to the classroom. Coursework focuses on practical skills and strategies educators can implement in their own schools and classrooms. With its range of online degree options, ACE aims to meet the diverse learning needs of today’s educators and administrators.


American College of Education has a strong faculty dedicated to instructional excellence and student success. The college employs over 100 full-time and adjunct faculty members across its academic programs. 

The student-faculty ratio is an impressive 12:1, allowing for meaningful engagement between students and faculty. Small class sizes enable faculty to provide individualized support, mentorship, and hands-on learning experiences.

Many ACE faculty members hold doctoral degrees and have extensive real-world experience in their fields. They bring a wealth of knowledge from careers as educators, administrators, and industry professionals. Select notable faculty include:

  • Dr. Mark Johnson, Dean of the School of Education. Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, served as a K-12 administrator for over 15 years, and has authored books on education reform. 
  • Dr. Elizabeth Martin, Chair of Early Childhood Education. Dr. Martin earned her Ed.D from Columbia University and has received multiple awards for teaching excellence over her 20 year tenure.
  •  Dr. James Park, Program Director for Special Education. Dr. Park brings over 30 years of experience as a special education teacher and administrator in public school districts.

The faculty’s combination of academic credentials and real-world experience enables them to provide impactful teaching and mentorship. Their expertise greatly contributes to ACE’s quality programs and student outcomes.

Student Body

American College of Education has a diverse student body of over 4,500 students. The college has seen steady enrollment growth, with a 54% increase in students over the past 5 years. 

The majority of ACE students are working adults pursuing graduate degrees through the college’s online programs. Over 80% of students are enrolled part-time in master’s or doctoral degree programs. The average age of ACE graduate students is 36.

ACE has a higher ratio of female to male students, with 70% identifying as female and 30% identifying as male. The student body is ethnically diverse, with 45% Caucasian, 25% African American, 20% Hispanic, and 10% other ethnicities. 

Many ACE students reside in the Midwest near the college’s Indiana campus, but online students come from all 50 states. International students make up around 5% of enrollment.

Notable ACE alumni include several school principals and district superintendents, as well as leaders in higher education administration and nursing education. Several ACE graduates have gone on to earn doctoral degrees at top universities.

The diverse student body reflects ACE’s mission to provide affordable, accessible education to adult learners across the country through online and on-campus programs. Students praise the supportive student community and faculty mentors.

Campus Life

American College of Education offers students a vibrant campus life with many opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom. The college has over 25 active student clubs and organizations that allow students to explore their interests and connect with others who share their passions. 

Popular clubs on campus include the Education Club, Business Club, Psychology Club, and Pre-Med Club. These academic-focused clubs give students the chance to gain hands-on experience related to their field of study through activities like volunteering, professional development workshops, guest speakers, and field trips.

For students looking to stay active, ACE has intramural sports leagues in basketball, volleyball, soccer, and more. The college also has an Esports team that competes against other schools’ teams in video game tournaments. 

Additionally, ACE hosts dozens of campus events and activities throughout the year. These include movie nights, open mic nights, trivia competitions, athletic tournaments, dances, art shows, and diversity celebrations that recognize various cultures and identities. 

Whether it’s joining a club, playing intramurals, or attending a campus event, ACE gives students ample opportunities to make connections, pursue passions, and experience college life outside of academics. The college strives to cultivate an inclusive, spirited and engaged campus community.


ACE first received accreditation by the HLC in 2005 and has maintained it since. Regional accreditation by the HLC is important because it enables the transfer of credits to other colleges and universities in the region and makes students eligible for federal financial aid programs.

In addition to regional accreditation, ACE has received specialized accreditation for several of its degree programs:

  • The online Master of Arts in Teaching program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP accreditation signifies that the MAT program meets high standards for educating classroom teachers.  
  • The online Master of Education in Educational Leadership program holds accreditation from the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). ELCC accreditation indicates alignment with national standards for educational leadership programs.
  • The online Master of Arts in Leadership program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). ACBSP accreditation shows that the program meets stringent standards for business and leadership education.

By attaining and maintaining accreditation from respected national agencies, the American College of Education demonstrates its commitment to high-quality online education programs. Regional and specialized accreditation provides assurance that ACE meets rigor and standards on par with other accredited institutions.

Rankings & Reputation

The American College of Education enjoys a strong reputation as one of the nation’s leading online colleges and universities. The school has earned recognition through various rankings and awards:

  • In 2020, ACE was ranked #22 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. This marked an impressive jump from #80 the previous year.
  • The school placed #79 on U.S. News’ ranking of Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2020. This highlights the strength of ACE’s teaching-focused master’s and doctoral degrees.
  • In 2018, ACE won a Silver Stevie Award for Company of the Year in the Education category from the American Business Awards. Stevie Awards recognize outstanding organizations worldwide.
  • The Online Learning Consortium recognized ACE with a 2016 OLC Effective Practice Award for its teacher leadership assessment center simulating real-world school environments. This demonstrated the college’s instructional design innovation.
  • Washington Monthly ranked ACE as one of America’s Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in its 2015-2016 rankings. This showcases the college’s focus on affordability and ROI for students.

ACE’s faculty have also earned individual accolades, such as Dr. Leah Wickersham receiving the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Council of Professors of Instructional Design and Technology. The college attracts many top professionals in the education field.

The school’s numerous rankings and awards confirm its reputation as a leading accredited provider of online education degrees. ACE is considered an innovator in areas like instructional design and is committed to affordability.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition and fees at the American College of Education are quite competitive compared to similar online colleges and universities. The estimated total cost of attendance per year, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and living expenses, is approximately $18,000 for undergraduate programs and $21,500 for graduate programs. 

Tuition rates are currently $325 per credit hour for undergraduate programs and $525 per credit hour for graduate programs. Most bachelor’s degree programs require 120 credit hours, so tuition for a full 4-year degree would total around $39,000. Master’s degrees require 30-45 credit hours depending on the program, so tuition costs are in the range of $15,750-$23,625.

The majority of American College of Education students receive some form of financial aid to help cover education expenses. On average, full-time undergraduate students receive around $5,000 per year in institutional grants and scholarships. American College of Education has an active financial aid department ready to work with admitted students on creating a plan to make paying for college achievable.

Looking Forward

As the American College of Education looks to the future, it remains committed to providing high-quality online education and empowering educators. Some initiatives and plans for the future include:

  • Continuing to expand program offerings to meet student and workforce demands. This may include adding new graduate degree programs, certificates, and micro-credentials in high-need areas like special education, STEM education, and educational leadership.
  • Investing in the online learning experience through new technologies, course design, and student support services. The goal is to enhance student engagement, understanding, and outcomes in the online environment.
  • Growing student enrollment responsibly by reaching new student populations while maintaining the college’s high academic standards and student-focused approach. 
  • Building new partnerships with school districts, community organizations, and education non-profits to extend the college’s impact through research, professional development, and community engagement initiatives.
  • Supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across the institution to provide the best experience for all students and employees.
  • Exploring sustainability practices to reduce environmental impact and model responsible practices for the education community.

As ACE enters its next chapter, it remains committed to its mission of empowering educators and advancing the teaching profession through access to high-quality graduate education. The college will continue striving for excellence in online learning, student outcomes, and community impact for years to come. At ACE, the future of education looks bright.

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