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Projects & Initiatives

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 coordinates 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.

In order to take its degree completion efforts to the next level, APLU is working to identify 100 change-ready public institutions to work together in 10 “transformation clusters.” By working together, these groups of universities will develop, refine, and scale innovative practices to address shared challenges. Collectively, these efforts will reach more than two million undergraduates nationwide – with the aim of closing the achievement gap and awarding hundreds of thousands of additional degrees by 2025.

APLU's Current Degree Completion Activities

Degree Completion & Student Success
APLU is creating a new national Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT) to grow, innovate, and sustain effective solutions that are scalable across the diverse set of institutions comprising the public university sector.
George Mason University ADVANCE Program
Degree Completion & Student 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
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
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.
Urban Initiatives
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
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.
Urban Initiatives
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.
Economic Development & Engagement
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.
Learning Technology
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
College Costs, Tuition & Financial Aid
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
Economic Development & Engagement
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.
Urban Initiatives
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.
STEM Education
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.
Accountability & Transparency
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.
Accountability & Transparency
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

Degree Completion & Student Success
APLU is creating a new national Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT) to grow, innovate, and sustain effective solutions that are scalable across the diverse set of institutions comprising the public university sector.