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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

  • Patent and IP Legislation
    Legislation has been reintroduced that would weaken patents and therefore make it more difficult for universities to turn research discoveries into the next greatest innovations that improve our nation’s economy, health, and quality of life.  H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, would significantly increase risk to universities in engaging in the technology transfer process, which has been critical to our nation’s global competitiveness in science and technology. APLU and other higher education associations released a statement and 145 universities joined in a letter expressing concern with the legislation while supporting narrowly tailored efforts to address bad actors in the patent system.
  • Administration's College Ratings Proposal

    Since President Obama first announced his college ratings proposal in August 2013, higher education institutions and others have been eagerly waiting to learn how the administration intends to rate colleges. By their mission and nature, APLU and public universities share the administration’s goal of improved transparency and accountability. APLU believes that some important reforms are needed, particularly to the Title IV institutional eligibility process, but that a college ratings system is misguided and would be too complex to fairly create and implement.

    Read about APLU's proposal to improve information available to students and stregthen institutional accountability here.

  • Drones for Research and Educational Use

    Public universities conduct important and wide-ranging research using drones. APLU has been working closely with the Association of American Universities (AAU) to help our institutions secure approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate drones for research and educational purposes, while maintaining their record of safety.

    APLU and AAU sent a letter to the FAA outlining this issue in December 2014. A copy of the letter can be found here. APLU also worked with AAU to send comments to the FAA in response to their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on this topic. The comments can be found here.


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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