Conference Information

Acton University Registration Opens

Monday – November 18, 2013

Acton University Registration Closes

Friday - May 9, 2014

ALL applications MUST be submitted on or before

Flight Reservations & Itineraries Deadline

Friday – April 18, 2014 

All flight reservations and itineraries MUST be made before; if you apply and are accepted after 4/18/14 you have until Friday – May 16, 2014 to submit your itinerary.

Acton University

June 17 – 20, 2014

On-Site Registration – Grand Gallery DeVos Place

Tuesday, June 17, 2014: 3:30pm – 5:30pm

Hospitality Hour

Tuesday June 17, 2014: 5:30pm – 6pm

Dinner and Opening Plenary

June 17, 2014: 6pm – 8:30pm

Who attends Acton University?

  • The conference welcomes undergraduate and graduate students, professors, non-profit professionals, pastors, seminarians, entrepreneurs, business people, and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the integration of sound economics, rigorous philosophy, and the Judeo-Christian faith.

What qualifies you as an Acton Alumnus?

  • If you have previously attended: a Toward a Free and Virtuous Society, Acton Symposiums, Acton University, or Thriving Churches: Flourishing Communities City conference you are an Acton Alumnus.  This means that you can OPT OUT of the four (4) required Foundational courses on Day One, Wednesday.

What constitutes a 'full-time' student to secure the Student Rate for Acton University?

  • To qualify for the “student rate”, a participant must be enrolled in eight (8)or more quarter or semester hours at a college or university. This rate applies to students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

How old does a person need to be to attend Acton University?

  • Registrants must be 18 years old on or before June 17, 2014. If younger than 18 years, the registrant must be accompanied by a legal guardian who attends the conference with the student.

What will I invest financially to attend?

  • A substantial portion of the total conference fee, lectures, materials, meals, lodging, and hospitality events is provided by Acton through generous donors, grants and foundations.
  • Each participant will contribute financially toward the following:
    • Standard conference and meal fee
    • Contribution toward lodging accommodations
    • Travel expense grant, will be provided by Acton University to assist in your travel plans, if you request it.  Applicants are responsible for the amount that the assistance does not cover.
  • Visit the pricing page for specific details on conference rates and lodging package information.

What about a ONE day pass?  Can I pay per course?

  • The Acton University ONE day rate is $199, which includes all daytime sessions, lunch, dinner, and the evening lecture. Lodging is not included. The per course rate is $85. To arrange for the per day or per course rate, please contact us at programs@acton.org

How do I pay my conference fee?

  • Once accepted, a link will be available on your profile that takes you to a convenient online payment system. Payment is accepted on the Acton University website by credit card and Bitcoin. We also have a PayPal account – contact the AU team for further details.
  • If you live in the U.S. and prefer to send your payment by mail rather than online, download the payment form available from your profile and send it to the address provided.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

What happens if I discover that I am unable to attend, but have already paid my conference fee – do you have a refund policy?

  • If Acton Institute is notified of your cancellation on or before June 1, 2014, your payment will be refunded in full. After June 1, 2014, Acton Institute will refund up to 50% of your conference fee (Students: $125, Non-Students $287).
  • Cancellations due to legitimate emergencies will be considered (examples: issues of personal health, family emergencies (i.e. birth of a child), or international visa circumstances). Acton University staff will review each circumstance and make a determination.

Named Fellowship Programs
In addition to broader Acton University scholarships, named fellowship programs have been generously sponsored for applicants meeting specific qualifications. These fellowships are highly competitive, and may include additional requirements before or after the conference. Though all applications to Acton University are reviewed for named fellowships, a brief outline of selected fellowship programs is included below.

  • Dignitatis Humanae Scholarship: These fellowships are offered to Catholic priests, seminarians, and laity. Recipients attend special sessions that reflect on the relationship between religious liberty and economic freedom.
  • Free Market Forum Scholar: Named after Hillsdale College's Free Market Forum conference, these fellowships are awarded to graduate students and professors who attended the November 2013 conference in San Diego. Recipients gather at Acton University to address issues of social ethics, sound anthropology and economic understanding.
  • Hansen Fellowship: Sponsored by The Robert and Marie Hansen Foundation, these fellowships are offered to Catholic high school teachers. Recipients attend and contribute to special sessions, examining ways in which Acton University lessons can be utilized in a classroom setting.
  • Haworth-Hope College Fellowship: Awarded to professors from Hope College in Holland, MI. Recipients gather at Acton University to address issues of free market economics, the worth and value of the human person, and the necessary elements of a free and virtuous society.
  • Kern Fellowship: Sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation, the Kern Fellowship Program is building a cohort of Protestant seminary professors to address issues of social ethics, sound anthropology and economic understanding in US seminaries. Beginning with attendance at Acton University, recipients of this prestigious award are offered unique resources and opportunities for use in their classrooms and scholarly advancement.

When I'm filling out the registration form, why can't I choose certain courses?

  • Javascript must be enabled on your computer in order to fill out the registration form.
  • FND courses are for non-Alumni only. During this time Alumni may chose from alternative course offerings.

What are the foundational lectures?

  • The foundational lectures (FND) are courses that offer participants a framework and context rooted in Judeo-Christian anthropology. These courses are a vital first step in the exploration of the various themes and topics addressed throughout the week. We require that all first time participants take the four-course FND series.

Is it possible to bypass the foundational lectures?

  • Acton Institute offers the four foundational courses as part of AU Online, an internet-based educational resource for exploring the intellectual foundations of a free and virtuous society. These online classes enable you to bypass the foundational lectures at Acton University. Visit auonline.acton.org for more information.
  • Please contact us at programs@acton.org with questions.

Where is Acton University held?

Where is the nearest airport?

  • Participants travelling by plane should fly into the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), which is located 13 miles (approx. 15-20 minutes) southeast of downtown Grand Rapids.
  • Further details regarding arrival and departure will be available to participants after acceptance.

Can I travel by bus or train?

  • Downtown Grand Rapids is home to a train station and bus station. Both are located less than 2 miles (approx. 6 minutes by car) from the conference site and area hotels.
    • Amtrak: Market Ave. and Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids
    • Greyhound Bus: 250 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

I plan to drive to Grand Rapids– is there any parking available?

  • If you commute each day and park downtown, you are responsible for the daily parking fees.  There are many parking options in downtown Grand Rapids near the DeVos Place Convention Center. Maps of available facilities are found here (from the City of Grand Rapids) and here (from ExperienceGR).
  • The special rate for Acton University at  the DeVos Parking Garage is pending.
  • Plan to arrive at the DeVos Place Convention Center in time to register at 3:30pm on Tuesday, June 17. Specific details will be forthcoming as the date of the conference gets closer.

What is appropriate attire for the conference and what should I bring?

  • Business casual to casual attire.
  • We recommend everyone bring an umbrella. June in Grand Rapids is generally beautiful, but always brings with it the element of surprise!

Will meals be provided?

  • Yes!  In fact 10 meals, catered by the award winning Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, are a focal point of your experience at Acton University.  The cost of all meals, hospitality receptions, coffee, morning and afternoon snack breaks and other refreshments for the duration of the conference are included in your conference fee. All meals will take place at the DeVos Place Convention Center.
  • The highlight of each day is the evening meal, which features: fresh baked artisanal breads, a select dinner salad, main entree, wine, dessert and coffee service.

Are you able to accommodate vegetarian or other special request meals?

  • Yes, we are happy to accommodate vegetarian and special diet requests. You must submit your request via email to us at programs@acton.org no later than May 15.

I’m coming from out of town. What are my options for hotel accommodations?

  • Acton University has secured competitive rates at four hotels within walking distance of the conference center. Reservations for a 4-night stay from Tuesday June 17 through Saturday June 21, 2014 will be arranged by the Acton Institute.
  • Details on lodging rates and conference packages are available on our pricing page.

Acton University preferred area hotels: