The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The association's membership consists of 241 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations.
APLU's mission is to: expand access and improve student success to deliver the innovative workforce of tomorrow; advance and promote research and discovery to improve society, foster economic growth, and address global challenges; and build healthy, prosperous, equitable, and vibrant communities locally and globally.
The association's work is furthered by an active and effective advocacy arm that works with Congress and the administration as well as the media to advance federal policies that strengthen public universities and benefit the students they serve.
APLU undertakes a wide array of projects and initiatives along with its members and provides a forum for public higher education leaders to work collaboratively and better meet the challenges and opportunities facing public universities. Rallying the talents, knowledge and expertise among its member institutions is critical to the association's mission. The APLU council structure enables university leaders with comparable titles, working in similar positions, to come together to address critical issues and expand their knowledge base within their professional area of expertise. The association's commission structure enables individuals, regardless of position and from multiple disciplines across the universities, to come together to address critical issues and expand their knowledge base in areas of common interest regardless of position.
Founded in 1887, APLU is North America's oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, as well as Canada, and Mexico. In 1963, the American Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities merged with the National Association of State Universities to form the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC). On March 30, 2009, the association adopted the name, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, or APLU. In 2014, APLU welcomed a select group of public universities from Canada and Mexico as its first international members.
Annually, APLU member campuses enroll 4.9 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $44.9 billion in university-based research.
APLU's membership includes 212 campuses and 24 university systems, including 75 U.S. land-grant institutions.
The association’s membership includes 23 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), of which 21 are land-grant institutions (19 under the 1890 Morrill Act, two under the 1862 Morrill Act).
Nine Canadian and five Mexican public research universities are members of APLU.
APLU’s Sarah Rovito spoke on a panel on Why & How Universities Should Take on Moonshots at SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas. Rovito joined colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin Bridging Barriers, UCLA Grand Challenges, and Schmidt Futures to share how university-led Grand Challenge, or “moonshot” initiatives, are capable of solving societal problems and conveying the value of research to the public. An audio recording of the panel is available here.