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News & Media

APLU Awarded Two-Year Grant to Spur Student-Centered University Transformation

January 9, 2020

Washington – Building on its work to drive student-centered change across higher education, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today announced the association has been awarded a two-year, $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to spur university transformation at member institutions.

"Public universities are laser-focused on increasing college access, equity, and the number of degrees they award,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “This funding will be essential to advancing those aims on our member campuses and sharing lessons from their work across the sector. We thank our membership for their unyielding commitment to these issues and the foundation for its deep investment in equity and student success.”

The funding will support capacity-building services to 14 member institutions selected through a competitive APLU-led process. Institutions participating in APLU’s Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success effort will be eligible to apply for the support services starting in early 2020; an announcement of the application process is forthcoming. Examples of support available to the selected institutions include assistance aimed at advancing digital learning, corequisite support in the place of remedial education, and streamlined student pathways across two- and four-year institutions.

The award is part of the foundation’s Intermediaries for Scale investment, which supports networks of institutions that scale interventions tackling barriers to student success. APLU is one of 12 organizations selected for the Intermediaries for Scale effort, chosen from a pool over 200 organizations that applied. APLU will work closely with other intermediaries over the next two years, and participate in common learning activities designed to accelerate transformation across the higher education sector.

In addition to funding services to the 14 selected grantees, a portion of the grant will support operations for APLU’s Powered by Publics effort, which is led by the association’s Center for Public University Transformation. The center leads all the association’s student success-focused institutional change efforts. Powered by Publics convenes 130 public universities and systems in “transformation clusters” of institutions tackling a variety of shared barriers to student success. Collectively, the institutions are aiming to increase college access, eliminate the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.

Ahead of the APLU Annual Meeting, institutions participating in the Powered by Publics effort convened in San Diego for an in-person meeting, where they advanced their cluster-based work and shared lessons from the first year of the effort across the clusters. More information about Powered by Publics including learning summaries from the first phase of the project can be found at http://www.aplu.org/pxp.

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