Conference Information

Acton University Registration Opens

Monday, November 16, 2015 - 9:00am EST

Acton University Registration Closes

Friday, May 20, 2016 - 12:00am EST (midnight)

  • ALL applications MUST be submitted on or before this deadline.

Acton University HOTEL - Lodging Online Reservation Site Closes

Sunday, May 22, 2016 NOTE: The savings in money, time, and logistics make staying at the Amway Grand Plaza your best choice

Flight Reservations & Itineraries Deadline

Friday, April 15, 2016*

  • All flight reservations and travel itineraries MUST be made and submitted before this deadline.
  • *IF you apply and are accepted AFTER April 15, 2016 you have until May 22, 2016 to submit your itinerary.

Acton University 2016

June 14 – 17  Tuesday through Friday evening.

On-Site Check-in/Registration – DeVos Place

Tuesday, June 14, 2016: 3:30pm – 5:30pm

Opening Reception

Tuesday, June 14, 2016: 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Dinner and Opening Plenary Lecture

June 14, 2016: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Who attends Acton University?

  • Everyone with a personal or professional interest in religion, liberty and free-markets is invited to apply. Currently enrolled 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, philosophy, and the Judeo-Christian faith.

What is an Acton Alumnus?

  • You are 'alumni' if you have previously attended one of these events: Toward a Free and Virtuous Society, Acton Symposium, Acton University, or Thriving Churches: Flourishing Communities conference.
  • Acton alumni have fulfilled our requirement for all first-time participants to attend three (3) Foundational Courses on Wednesday, June 15. Alumni course options during sessions 1 through 3 are noted as "ALUM" on the schedule.

Who is eligible for the discounted student rate pricing for Acton University?

  • To qualify for the discounted student rate, a participant must be currently enrolled (part-time or full-time) at a post-secondary college or university. This discounted rate applies to students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

How old do you need to be to attend Acton University?

  • Registrants must be 18 years old on or before June 14, 2016. If younger than 18 years, the registrant must be accompanied by a legal guardian who pays for, and attends the conference with the student.

Can my spouse attend with me?

  • Yes. All conference attendees are responsible for securing their own hotel arrangements, so your spouse is certainly welcome to travel with you and share your room.
  • If your spouse is not officially registered and accepted to AU, they will NOT be able to participate in any of the conference activities (i.e. meals, breaks/hospitality, and lectures).
  • If your spouse is accepted to the conference, please note that both of you must complete the online registration process (and subsequent tasks) separately.

What will I invest financially to attend?

  • A substantial portion of the total conference price (includes facilities, faculty, lectures, materials, meals, beverages/snacks and hospitality receptions) is provided by Acton through generous donors, grants and foundations that offset the actual costs of your attendance.
  • Each participant's personal paid conference fee pays for the following:
    • All meals, snacks, beverages, and two hospitality receptions  (4 plated dinners, 3 lunches, 3 breakfasts)
    • On your own... TRAVEL - Personal travel expenses. Financial assistance is available to reduce your travel expenses if you apply during registration. Requests are reviewed by Acton University staff based on applicant need and funds available.
    • On your own... HOTEL - After you are accepted to Acton University, we will send you a web link to our online Hotel Registration landing page. You will select and pay for the hotel option that best suits your needs and your budget. If you choose double occupancy, we can pair you with a roomate, or you can offer criteria and we will help to find a roomate that is suitable to your needs and preferences.
  • Visit the pricing page for specific details on conference rates.

What about a single day pass? Can I pay for individual courses?

  • The Acton University single day rate is $220, which includes all daytime lecture sessions, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the evening lecture. Lodging is not included. To arrange for the per day, please contact us at
  • Individual courses are not available for purchase.

When is my conference fee due?

  • June 1, 2016 - IMPORTANT  All payments must be made on or before 12:00am (midnight) EST on June 1, 2016. NO EXCEPTIONS. If you do not make your payment on or before June 1, 2016 you will forfeit your place at the conference.

How do I pay my conference fee?

  • Once accepted to the conference, a link on your profile page will be available 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.

Cancellation - "What happens if I discover that I'm unable to attend, but have already paid my conference fee - do you have a refund policy?"

  • If you notify us of your cancellation on or BEFORE June 1, 2016, your payment will be refunded in full 100%. For any cancellations received after June 1, 2016, your payment will NOT be refunded.

Sponsored fellowship programs have been generously provided for applicants meeting specific qualifications. These fellowships may include additional requirements before or after the conference. Though all applications to Acton University are reviewed for named fellowships, a brief outline of select programs is 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 October 2015 conference in Omaha. 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.
  • Sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation, the Oikonomia Fellowship, the Made to Flourish Pastors Fellowship, and the Evangelical Influencers Fellowship build a cohort of evangelical seminary professors, pastors, and thought leaders to address issues of social ethics, sound anthropology and economic understanding in U.S. seminaries, church, and broader society. Beginning with attendance at Acton University, recipients of these prestigious awards are offered unique resources and opportunities for use in their classrooms and scholarly advancement.
  • Murdock Trust Fellowship: These fellowships are offered to instructors, administrators, entrepreneurs, and pastors from key Northwest institutions in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington who have interests and aspirations in the integration of faith, work, and economics. are compatible with Acton principles. Beginning with attendance at Acton University, recipients will have opportunities to continue exploring the themes of faith, work, and economics.
  • Sponsored by the Diehl Family Foundation, the PovertyCure Outreach Fellowship is open to missions and outreach leaders. Recipients will attend special events that explore practical ways to actively engage in effective compassion, learning from peers who are currently engaged in missions work both internationally and domestically. Unique networking opportunities will also be included.

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.
  • If you are NOT an alumnus - you must take the 3 Foundatoinal Courses. There are no options; everyone must take these three courses.
  • Foundational (FND) courses, for first-time attendees, are offered during sessions 1 through 3. During this time Acton alumni choose from alternative course offerings, indicated as "ALUM".

What are the foundational lectures?

  • The three (3) foundational lectures (FND) are courses that offer participants the overall framework and intellectual context for liberty, freedom, economics, and Judeo-Christian anthropology. These courses are a vital step in the exploration of the various themes and topics addressed throughout the week. We require that all first-time participants attend the three-course FND series.

Is it possible to bypass the foundational lectures?

  • No. All first-time Acton University participants are required to attend them. These 3 Courses are the most requested, highest rated, and most enjoyed lectures.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

Where does Acton University take place?

Where is the nearest airport?

  • Participants travelling by plane 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 has a train 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).
  • If you are using AU lodging options, you will be responsible for the cost to park your car.
  • Plan to arrive at the DeVos Place Convention Center in time to register at 3:30pm on Tuesday, June 14.

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

  • Business casual attire.
  • For the evening plenary and dinner, many attendees often wear a suit coat and/or tie, women; dresses.  Not formal, but a step up from business casual.
  • We recommend that everyone bring an umbrella and light jacket/sweater. June in Grand Rapids is generally beautiful, but always brings with it the element of surprise!  And people often react to air-conditioning in different ways.  Bring a sweater/jacket if you tend to be cold in large public venues.

Will meals be provided?

  • Yes! Ten (10) meals will be prepared by the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The cost for your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, opening appetizer reception, coffee and beverages for the duration of the conference are INCLUDED in your conference fee. All meals will be served in our main dining room at the DeVos Place Convention Center.

Are you able to accommodate food related allergy/dietary requests?

  • We can accommodate food requests that are associated with allergies and medical related dietary needs. All requests must be submittted during your application process. You can also notify us of your allergy/dietary restriction via email at no later than May 15, 2016.

What are my options for hotel accomodations?

  • Unlike previous years, in 2016, participants will make their own reservations through our ONLINE hotel reservation website. When you are accepted to AU, you will receive complete instructions describing how to book a room under the AU conference rate.
  • Acton University has secured a limited room block, with highly competitive (low) rates at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, which is directly connected to the conference center.
  • Do NOT wait to make your hotel reservation, as rooms are limited and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Your credit card will NOT be charged until you check out of the hotel in June. Each participant will pay for their own lodging with their own personal credit card.
  • Details on lodging rates and conference packages are available on our pricing page.

Acton University preferred hotel: (Room Block, Special Discount Pricing, Walking Distance)