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Iowa State University
Policy & Advocacy


APLU and its Council on Governmental Affairs (CGA) along with the Council on Strategic Communications (CSC) work closely with fellow higher education groups, the business community, scientific organizations, and others on a range of issues and causes.  A core focus of our effort involves drawing on the collective strength of our member institutions to effectively advocate for federal policies and funding levels that support and enhance the work of public research universities.

Our Goals

  • To support student success through federal policies that make public universities more accessible and affordable regardless of economic background.
  • To ensure strong levels of federal research investment so that public universities can continue to carry out cutting-edge research and develop innovative new technologies that help power the U.S. economy forward, improve health, strengthen national security, and enhance our overall quality of life.
  • To collectively build strong relationships with members of Congress and the Executive Branch to advance the mission of public universities.
Photo Courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

Hot Issues

  • Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization

    Proposed legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act would have a significant impact on students, colleges & universities, and our nation. As members of Congress consider reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, APLU has developed a series of higher education policy proposals for Congress to consider.

    APLU President Peter McPherson released a statement regarding the introduction of the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Higher Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, H.R. 4508, which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

    In the letter to lawmakers, McPherson notes, “As we continue to review the bill, it is clear the measure is presently highly problematic and would ultimately make college less accessible and affordable. Additionally, it would make students more vulnerable to schools and programs that would not serve their best interests. The legislation adopts many of the recommendations of the Taskforce on Federal Regulation of Higher Education, but then adds new highly problematic regulatory burdens. While there are provisions APLU supports, cumulatively, the legislation would be an alarming setback from present law.”

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
    The decision to end the DACA program without a clear legislative solution in place unquestionably creates great uncertainty for the roughly 800,000 young people currently enrolled. APLU President Peter McPherson has urged Congress to act now.

    Click here to read the full statement
  • Budget and Appropriations

    President Trump released his FY2019 budget request on February 12, 2018, which outlines the administration’s agency and program funding requests. The budget proposes $3 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years and projects a nearly three percent economic growth rate over the next decade. The request accounts for the recently enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which increased the defense discretionary and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending caps for both FY2018 and FY2019. APLU's analysis of the administration’s FY2019 budget request is available here.

    FY2019 Budget and Appropriations Priorities Summary Chart  

Current Work

White House Budget
APLU monitors federal agency and program budgets of relevance to the higher education and scientific research community. In addition, APLU closely follows the congressional appropriations process.
University of Wisconsin Madison
APLU and our members work to ensure strong funding for federal financial aid programs.  Together we engage federal policymakers as they work to update and revise higher education and student aid legislation and regulations.
University of Akron
APLU promotes research and science policy issues important to our member institutions, particularly strong investments in research funding to ensure the U.S. remains the global innovation leader.  Our work also includes bolstering support for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
University of Arkansas
APLU advocates on behalf of agricultural research, extension, and education funding as well as funding for research and education programs at USGS, NOAA and EPA. The association is also heavily involved in advocating for beneficial language regarding university priorities in each Farm Bill. Staff also tracks federal legislation and administration activities relevant to atmospheric, climate, ecological, forestry, fish & wildlife, oceanic, rangeland management, and water sciences.
North Carolina State University
Technology transfer and intellectual property issues are of critical importance to APLU institutions. It is essential that public policy encourages innovation on our campuses which drives our economy, and improves health and quality of life for so many by incentivizing discoveries and moving good ideas to full development and commercialization. This technology transfer process is a vital role of research universities.
Temple University Student Center
APLU drives an agenda to support the international work of U.S. public research universities, including engagement in international development, internationalization of curriculum and campuses, including study abroad, and the development of globally competent students.
Tax and finance related policy issues broadly impact universities.  Tax benefits that support students and families to make higher education more affordable, incentives to promote charitable giving that supports institutions’ educational and research missions, bonds to facilitate expansion and improvement of university infrastructure, and policies that impact universities as tax-exempt entities and employers, are some of the issues in this area on which APLU advocates.


Featured Publications

Golden Goose Award

Golden Goose AwrdThe Golden Goose Award helps to demonstrate the human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of seemingly obscure studies that have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact.



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