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News & Media

2019 Annual Report

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APLU Annual Report CoverAPLU is pleased to present its 2019 Annual Report. Our association and membership engaged in a wide array of projects and initiatives centering on the three pillars of our work

  • Expand access and improve student success to deliver the innovative workforce of tomorrow.
  • Advance and promote research and discovery to improve society, foster economic growth, and address global challenges.
  • Build healthy, prosperous, equitable, and vibrant communities locally and globally.


With dynamics in Washington changing on an almost daily basis, APLU has a strong presence on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies. With the active engagement of its members, APLU is a leading voice on research and higher education issues that support public universities’ mission.

APLU's work extends far beyond federal policy. APLU’s Powered by Publics initiative is engaging 130 member institutions, shepherding student-centered transformation around issues such as unnecessary curricular hurdles, holistic advising, and financial literacy, among others. APLU is at the forefront of efforts to expand adaptive learning to improve student success. We’re also developing resources to help institutions adopt digital learning materials that could dramatically reduce textbook costs.

To cultivate a more diverse and inclusive faculty in STEM fields, the association is co-leading a national effort, the Aspire Alliance, supported by the National Science Foundation INCLUDES program. The effort’s ultimate aim is for faculty to more appropriately mirror student composition, and thus contribute to higher retention and success among students from underrepresented backgrounds.

APLU advanced several critical research efforts in 2019 as well. The association launched a report on Public Impact Research, highlighting universities that are addressing societal needs and providing tools for more institutions to develop such research. To help institutions better share the data and findings resulting from federally funded research, APLU joined with the Association of American Universities to produce a Guide to Accelerating Public Access to Data.

This year also marked important milestones in APLU’s engagement work. APLU’s Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities program continues to advance. The initiative recognizes institutions that have demonstrated excellence in promoting regional economic development and spotlights leading economic engagement practices. Additionally, APLU issued a report on E-Connectivity in Rural America to elevate the role universities are playing in closing the gap in E-Connectivity. And APLU launched the Global Learning for All Initiative in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities to identify and advance diverse opportunities for global learning on member campuses.

It was a busy 2019, and we have no plans to slow down. This work is invigorating because it is so challenging. We know 2020 will bring a new set of challenges and opportunities. We know our member institutions are working to tear down barriers to student success, advance research tackling society’s most intractable problems, and create more vibrant communities. It’s a privilege to stand with you in such vital work and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to do exactly that over the coming year.

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