Projects & Initiatives

Center for Public University Transformation

Increasing Degree Completion & Ensuring Student Success

APLU Center for Public University Transformation

APLU’s national Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT) is designed to grow, innovate, and sustain solutions that are scalable across the diverse set of institutions comprising the public university sector. CPUT seeks to align and scale successful strategies from APLU’s many projects and initiatives related to degree completion.

APLU’s CPUT long-term vision is to coordinate the association’s degree completion initiatives. For over a decade, APLU has worked with member institutions to pioneer initiatives that help broaden college access, increase degree completion, and improve employment readiness. Those expansive efforts – covering every aspect of the student experience – are now guided through the Center.

APLU’s Current Degree Completion Activities

Degree Completion & Student Success

Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success

Powered by Publics is convening nearly 125 change-ready institutions within 16 “transformation clusters” focused on solving different pieces of the student success puzzle. Participating institutions are working collaboratively to increase college access, eliminate the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.

George Mason University ADVANCE Program

Degree Completion & Student Success

Supporting Transfer Students & Ensuring Their Success

APLU and its member universities are ensuring transfer student success. Public research universities are innovating to strengthen pathways for students to easily and efficiently transfer between institutions.

2015 PDC Award Winner

Degree Completion & Student Success

Degree Completion Award

The 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.

Image of graduation day.

Degree Completion & Student Success

Student Experience Project

APLU and USU are engaged in a collaborative of university leaders, faculty, researchers and national education and improvement organizations who are committed to innovative, evidence-based practices that increase degree attainment by transforming the college student experience and creating equitable learning environments. The SEP will utilize more than a decade of social psychology research demonstrating positive experiences of community, belonging, and support on campus and in the classroom can increase a student’s likelihood of persevering through academic challenges toward graduation.


Completion Grants

In an effort to ensure cash‐strapped students with a proven record of academic success do not drop out due to financial need, some pathbreaking public universities are offering completion grants of a few hundred dollars to help students make tuition payments as they near graduation. APLU and USU are now building on this work by undertaking a rigorous empirical review of completion grants’ efficacy.

Guided pathways - graduation UAB

Degree Completion & Student Success

Guided Pathways for 4-Year Institutions

APLU has collaborated with a team of researchers and institutional stakeholders in a collaborative project designed to facilitate student success through the use of guided pathways as an evidence-based framework.


Holistic Admissions

Diversifying the workforce starts with college admissions. That’s why APLU, USU, and other organizations led a landmark study of holistic review in admissions to assess the state of holistic admissions practices across health profession schools and examine the impact of those practices on diversity, student success, and community engagement. USU’s research outlines various admissions practices that can be adopted to improve diversity in health disciplines.


Integrating Industry Certifications with Degrees

APLU, USU, Workcred, and UPCEA explore how universities and certification bodies can improve student success and workforce outcomes by reducing the time and cost gaps between a 4-year degree and an industry certification.


Personalized Learning Consortium

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.

Courtesy of the University of Central Florida


Public University Values

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.

Courtesy of North Carolina State University


Ready for Jobs, Careers, and a Lifetime

Education for employment upon graduation is important, but a four-year degree should also put graduates in a better position to adapt as employment requirements change throughout their careers.


Revolutionizing the University

APLU and USU are working with public universities to research, develop, and test new, scalable university business models that boost student learning and degree completion. These transformations are aimed at establishing a comprehensive playbook for overhauling how students progress through college. USU shares the practices and findings identified through this work with APLU members to help better serve their students.


Science and Mathematics Teaching Imperative

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.


Student Achievement Measure

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.



VSA Analytics

Designed by institutions for institutions, VSA Analytics provides a robust, interactive, and user-friendly platform to compare and analyze key performance metrics across colleges and universities.

Featured Project & Initiative

Powered by Publics
Powered by Publics is convening nearly 125 change-ready institutions within 16 “transformation clusters” focused on solving different pieces of the student success puzzle. Participating institutions are working collaboratively to increase college access, eliminate the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.

Featured Publication

2021 APLU Annual Report