History and Impact

The Foundation for Independent Higher Education (FIHE) began in 1958 as The Independent College Funds of America (ICFA). The ICFA raised funds for the independent college sector and served as the national office to help support the work of the “State Funds” established by private colleges to work collaboratively to raise gifts and grants from the corporate sector. Chartered in New York, over the years, the ICFA (later FIHE) had its headquarters in New York, Chicago, and Washington DC. In fulfilling its mission, FIHE and its network of consortia have had a tangible impact on the advancement of the independent colleges and universities affiliated with the State Funds.
Since its inception, FIHE has provided nearly $100 million in grants to State Fund Members in support of college program development, student scholarships, and opportunities for independent institutions to participate in, and benefit from, innovative collaborative projects. Of this $100 million total, half was raised by the FIHE staff and board for distribution to the State Funds with the other half being funded by the CIC-FIHE Endowment for such programs as the UPS Scholarship program, which has supported more than 16,000 students with over $47 million in scholarships.

FIHE has also played a major role in enabling the State Funds to raise over $1.7 billion to support the private colleges and universities in their respective states. Programs funded include budget support for such purposes as scholarships, faculty development, undergraduate research, curriculum development, STEM projects, and minority educational achievement.
In October 2010, FIHE merged with the Council of Independent Colleges, with the regional organizations becoming State Fund Members of CIC and CIC continuing program staff support for the network, focusing on member services and grant-making programs. 

 History of CIC

​Read more about the full mission and history of the Council of Independent Colleges.