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University of Wisconsin Madison
Projects & Initiatives

Project Degree Completion

APLU and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) developed Project Degree Completion in which nearly 500 public colleges and universities have pledged to collectively work to increase not just the number of Americans who go to college, but the number who finish and earn a degree. The participating institutions committed to awarding 3.8 million more degrees by 2025 as the public college and university contribution to the national goal of having 60 percent of working age adults in the U.S. possess a post-secondary degree by that time.  The total number of college degrees granted by these four-year institutions would rise an estimated 14.6 million to 18.4 million between 2012 and 2025.

To facilitate this progress, APLU has developed a wide array of projects and initiatives designed to help further strengthen universities' work to increase access, contain costs, improve retainment, better track progress, and ultimately grow completion rates.  The association is also working to identify institutions' best practices and share them across the entire membership.  The following are keys efforts APLU is undertaking as part of Project Degree Completion:


2015 PDC Award Winner
Degree Completion
The Project Degree Completion Award recognize universities that have made significant progress in successfully retaining and graduating students while promoting those schools as models for other institutions.
Learning Technology
To help college and university leaders implement new systems for redesigning advising and supporting students across their campuses, APLU developed an online course: A SMART Approach to Student Success: Strategic Management of Advising Reform and Technology.
Urban Initiatives
Collaborating for Change (CFC) is an initiative working to spur student success by driving transformational change at public urban research universities across the country.
Clemson University
Access & Diversity
The Minority Male in STEM Initiative (MMSI) is designed to increase the recruitment and matriculation of underrepresented minority (URM) males in the STEM disciplines at public universities.
Learning Technology
The PLC serves as a coordinating body to foster cooperation and collaboration that will advance the use of information technology to improve learning, retention, and graduation. PLC membership positions universities to better capture the economies of scale inherent in information technology.
Accountability & Transparency
The Post-Collegiate Outcomes (PCO) collaborative project recently released a framework and toolkit to facilitate the discussion, compilation, and reporting of post collegiate outcomes.
Courtesy of the University of Central Florida
College Costs, Tuition & Financial Aid
APLU’s Public University Values (#PublicUValues) campaign seeks to help better explain key facts about the value of public universities and to clarify some common misconceptions.
Missouri University of Science and Technology campus in the spring
Accountability & Transparency
Concerned about the complexities and practicality of the Obama administration’s college ratings plan, APLU developed a proposal that shares the underlying broad goals of improved transparency and accountability, but does not rate or rank institutions.
STEM Education
The Science and Mathematics Teaching Imperative is the most ambitious national initiative that assists public universities in their effort to increase the number and improve the quality and diversity of science and mathematics teachers prepared.
Accountability & Transparency
The Student Achievement Measure (SAM) provides a comprehensive picture of student progress on their path to earning a college degree or certificate. As compared to the limitations of typical graduation rate measures, SAM reports more outcomes for more students.
Female student working with computers in a science lab
Urban Initiatives
The Transformational Planning Grant supports a cohort of seven public urban research universities as they spend a year planning and designing new business models and innovative approaches to increase access, improve success rates and find greater cost efficiencies.
Accountability & Transparency
Simple, straightforward presentation of comparable information directly from public universities at no charge to students and families. Data elements selected based on input from students and families seeking trustworthy data.