Branding Standards Guide

Acronyms, Abbreviations and Organization Names

An acronym is a word formed from the first letter (or letters) of a series of words (e.g., NASA, BOT). Unless pronounced as a word, an abbreviation is not an acronym. The choice between using a or an with an acronym or abbreviation depends on how it is spoken rather than whether the first initial is a vowel or consonant (a NASA scientist; an HTML class; a HEERA regulation; an FTF; a UFO).

Try to avoid pages filled with acronyms and abbreviations. Although they are useful to avoid repetition of organizations and programs with lengthy names, their overuse can be disruptive to the reader. Spell out the abbreviation or acronym on the first use and follow with the abbreviation in parentheses. If the subsequent reference is too far away for the average reader to remember what the abbreviation stands for, spell it out again.

Do not italicize an acronym or abbreviation even if it is the title of a printed piece (e.g., FAFSA).


AAHE: American Association for Higher Education (note for)

AB: Assembly Bill

ACE: American Council on Education

ACT: American College Test

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

ADT: Associate Degree for Transfer

ALS: Affordable Learning Solutions

AP: Advanced Placement

APC: Academic Professionals of California

API: Academic Performance Index

APLU: Association of Public Land-Grant Universities

ARI: Agricultural Research Institute

ASCSU: Academic Senate California State University

ASA: Academic and Student Affairs (formerly known as Academic Affairs)

ASI: Associated Students, Inc.

asf or ASF: assignable square foot (feet)

ASSIST: Articulation System Stimulating Inter-institutional Student Transfer

ATAC: Academic Technology Advisory Committee

ATI: Accessible Technology Initiative

ATOD: Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs

ATS: Academic Technology Services

AVC: Assistant Vice Chancellor

AVP: Academic Vice President


BCLAD: Bilingual Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development

BOT: Board of Trustees (use abbreviation only in internal, informal use)

BTSA: Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment


CAASPP: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress

CABO: Chief Administrative Business Officers

CADAA: California Dream Act Application

CAE: Council for Aid to Education

CalPERS: California Public Employees’ Retirement System

CAPP: California Academic Partnership Program

CASE: Council for Support and Advancement of Education (no the before Support)

CBEST: California Basic Education Skills Test

CCC: California Community Colleges

CCCI (followed by a number): California Construction Cost Index

CCE: Center for Community Engagement

CCSS: Common Core State Standards

CCTC: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

CDE: California Department of Education

CDIP: Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program

CE: Continuing Education

CEQA: California Environmental Quality Act

CFA: California Faculty Association

CFO: Chief Financial Officer

CHRS: Common Human Resources System

CIO: Chief Information Officer

CLAD: Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development

CMS: Common Management System (PeopleSoft) software

CO: Chancellor’s Office

COAST: Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology

COLD: Council of Library Deans

CPDC: Capital Planning, Design and Construction (no ampersand in initials)

CPEC: California Postsecondary Education Commission

CRT: Course Redesign with Technology

CSEA: California State Employees Association

CSSA: California State Student Association

CSU: California State University

CSUEU: California State University Employees Union

CSUPERB: CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology

CSURMA: CSU Risk Management Authority

CTA: California Teachers Association

CTAP: California Technology Assistance Project

CTC: Commission on Teacher Credentialing


DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

DEIR: Draft Environmental Impact Report

DNP: Doctor of Nursing Practice

DOE: Department of Education

DOF: Department of Finance

DPT: Doctor of Physical Therapy


EAP: Early Assessment Program

EAP: Employee Assistance Program

EIN: Employer Identification Number

EIR: Environmental Impact Report

ELM: Entry Level Mathematics

EO: Executive Order

EOP: Educational Opportunity Program

EPT: English Placement Test

ESL: English as a Second Language

EVC: Executive Vice Chancellor


FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

FAQ: frequently asked questions

FASB: Financial Accounting Standards Board

FEA: Future Educators of America

FEIR: Final Environmental Impact Report

FIFA: Fédération Internationale de Football Association

FIPSE: Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education

FISMA: Financial Integrity and State Manager’s Accountability Act

FTE: full-time equivalent

FTEF: full-time equivalent faculty

FTES: full-time equivalent students

FTF: first-time freshman

FY: fiscal year


GAAP: generally accepted accounting principles

GASB: Governmental Accounting Standards Board

GEAR UP: Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs

GIS: Geographic Information Systems

GMAT: Graduate Management Admission Test

GPA: grade point average (all capital letters, no periods)

gsf or GSF: gross square foot (feet)

GRE: Graduate Record Examinations


HEERA: Higher Education Employer Employee Relations Act

HIPs: high-impact practices

HMEI: Hospitality Education Initiative


IB: International Baccalaureate

ICSUAM: Integrated CSU Administrative Manual

IGETC: Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum

IHE: Institution of Higher Education

IP: International Programs

IPEDS: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

IT: information technology

ISO: Information Security Office/Officer

ITL: Institute for Teaching and Learning

IUOE: International Union of Operating Engineers


JHEAD: Joint Higher Education Advocacy Day


LAO: Legislative Analyst’s Office


MERLOT: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

MFA: Multi Factor Authentication

MOOC: massive online open course

MOU: Memorandum of Understanding

MPP: Management Personnel Plan

MSAT: Multiple Subject Assessment Test


NASULGC: National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges

NCES: National Center for Education Statistics

NOP: Notice of Preparation

NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association (divisions noted by Roman numerals I-A, I-AA, II, III)

NCATE: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

NEA: National Education Association (headquarters in Washington, D.C.)

NEA: National Endowment for the Arts

NEH: National Endowment for the Humanities


OCE: Online Concurrent Enrollment


PII: Personally Identifiable Information

PSM: Professional Science Master's


RFP: Request for Proposal

RICA: Reading Instruction Competency Assessment

RSCA: Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities

RTP: Retention, tenure, promotion


SAC: Student Aid Commission

SAM: State Administrative Manual

SAT: Scholastic Assessment Test

SB: Senate Bill

SEIU: Service Employees International Union

SETC: State Employees Trades Council

SNAPS: Student Needs and Priorities Survey

STAR: Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (STAR Act)

STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics

SSAT: Single Subject Assessment Test

SSN: Social Security number

SSO: Single Sign On

SUAM: State University Administrative Manual

SUG: State University Grant

SUH: State University House

SUPA: Statewide University Police Association


TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

TT: tenure-track


UAPD: Union of American Physicians and Dentists

UAW: United Auto Workers

UC: University of California

UCOP: University of California Office of the President


WASC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

WWW: World Wide Web


XE: Extended Education


YRO: year-round operations