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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

  • Tax Reform

    Proposed tax legislation in the House and Senate will have a significant impact on student, faculty and staff, institutions of higher education, and U.S. economic competitiveness. APLU President Peter McPherson issued a statement regarding the House tax reform proposal, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act and sent a letter to the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee to highlight top concerns as we continue to review the legislation.

    “Reforming our nation’s tax code is long overdue and we appreciate the effort that went into crafting this legislation. We recognize that policymakers have many priorities they must balance. But as written, the bill would have deeply negative consequences for access to higher education, the cost of college, and efforts to develop the highly skilled workforce that is needed to propel our nation’s economy forward.”

    Read APLU’s letter to the Ways and Means Committee here.

  • 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

    In September, Congress passed a package deal to fund the federal government via a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) and suspend the debt ceiling through December 8. Both chambers continue to work on funding legislation related to FY2018, most recently passing a FY2018 budget resolution establishing federal spending and revenue levels for FY 2018 and subsequent years through FY 2027.

    More information about APLU’s efforts can be found here.

  • College Transparency Act

    Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate recently introduced the College Transparency Act of 2017, H.R. 2434/S. 1121 which would provide for much more comprehensive higher education outcomes data. The legislation would better inform students and families as they make the critical decision of which college or university is the right fit; provide key information to help policymakers make evidence-based decisions; provide colleges and universities they need to assess programs and improve. Momentum is building with new Members of Congress joining as cosponsors and organizations representing students, colleges and universities, business and industry, veterans, and others joining the list of supporters.

    Read APLU President Peter McPherson’s statement in support of the College Transparency Act.

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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