Background and Mission



Founded in 1941, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is a non-profit education association representing the interests of optometric education. ASCO’s membership encompasses the schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and Puerto Rico. A number of organizations and foreign optometry schools are associate or affiliate members.

ASCO is committed to achieving excellence in optometric education and to helping its member institutions prepare well-qualified graduates for entrance into the profession of optometry.


The mission of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry is to serve the public through the continued advancement and promotion of all aspects of academic optometry.

In support of this mission, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry is committed to fulfilling the leadership role in the optometric education enterprise by:

  • Serving as the advocate and spokesperson at the national level;
  • Providing leadership in education policy and research;
  • Supporting member institutions in the advancement of common goals;
  • Encouraging and facilitating interaction and cooperation among member institutions;
  • Serving as a liaison to the larger community of optometric organizations, health professions education associations, other health care professions and industry;
  • Promoting ethnic and cultural diversity and by supporting member institutions’ embracement of diversity in their practices and programs as it embodies the idea of an open and multicultural society; and
  • Supporting the international development of optometric education.