Seattle, WA – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named Boise State University the winner of its 2023 Degree Completion Award during a ceremony at its annual meeting. The Degree Completion Award works to identify, recognize, and reward institutions that employ innovative and evidence-based approaches to improve degree completion while ensuring educational quality.
“Congratulations to Boise State University on winning the 2023 Degree Completion Award,” said APLU President Mark Becker. “Math education remains one of the biggest academic barriers to student success and Boise State addressed this head-on, achieving critical gains in retention and degree completion. We’re delighted to highlight the success of their efforts, which serve as a model and inspiration for other public universities across the country.”
In 2005, Boise State’s Freshman Success Task Force identified early academic success as the best predictor of first-year retention. The university found that poor early academic success in early math classes in particular was a key predictor of subsequent student success: nearly half of incoming freshmen took such courses and more than half of them failed. The impact was even greater for underrepresented minority students.
To address these challenges, Boise State’s Math Learning Center implemented several innovations that nearly doubled pass rates in early math classes and contributed to increased retention and graduation over the next decade and a half. During the same period, Boise State’s retention and graduation rates have increased substantially, from seven or more percentage points below peers to now exceeding peers: first-year retention increased 17 percentage points, the four-year graduation rate quintupled, and the six-year graduation rate doubled.
The Degree Completion Award is open to all APLU members. Other institutions named finalists for the award are Florida International University, Kent State University, and the University of California, San Diego.