Denver, Colorado – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named Florida Atlantic University (FAU) the winner of its 2022 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.
“Florida Atlantic University has made critical strides in student success, graduation, and equity,” said APLU President Mark Becker. “Congratulations to FAU on winning the 2022 APLU Degree Completion Award. We’re delighted to spotlight their important work so other institutions can learn from their success.”
Florida Atlantic University launched a comprehensive plan to address equity gaps, advance student success, and increase the university’s graduation rate. After taking an exhaustive look at student success outcomes, disaggregated across a variety of characteristics, FAU determined that far too many students were lacking adequate support in entry-level courses.
To address this, FAU launched a cross-institutional analytics platform to help inform and track the effectiveness of student success interventions. These reforms included: the adoption of standardized “flight plans,” enabling students to easily see the optimal progression of courses to a degree; addressing course bottlenecks that were preventing students from graduating in a timely manner; and innovative financial assistance incentivizing students to register for the next semester.
The multipronged approach contributed to FAU more than doubling its four-year graduation rate from 19 percent in 2014 to 50 percent in 2021. Crucially, gains have been largest among historically underserved groups, including Black, Latino, and Pell-eligible students.