Race and socioeconomic status remain the most reliable predictors of college completion in the United States, and achievement gaps persist among low-income, minoritized, and first-generation students. Left unaddressed, these gaps will lead higher education to reinforce economic immobility. Educational access and attainment are vital for individuals, a healthy economy, workforce, and thriving nation. Far more individuals need to complete a college education to ensure a thriving middle class as college-educated workers are key to fueling the innovation and growth that are essential for economic competitiveness.
Our society has experienced historic and systemic barriers that prevent underserved and marginalized communities from fully participating in institutions of higher education, including the many benefits and privileges a college degree offers.
Grounded in the principle of fairness, equity is a condition wherein no person or community is hindered by systemic barriers in their access to educational opportunities, rights, resources, and support. Understanding equity is necessary for institutions of higher education so they can identify and rectify barriers within policies and procedures that foster unequal access and success. Equity-minded colleges and universities intentionally design curriculum and support services such that students receive what they need to be successful and social determinants (such as race, ethnicity, income, disability, and other factors) are no longer entrenched and reliable predictors of educational outcomes.
APLU’s Powered by Publics is dedicated to supporting institutions of higher education to identify and remove systemic and structural barriers to student success for individuals who have been historically underserved and underrepresented within higher education. APLU and the institutions participating in Powered by Publics aspire to ensure equal fairness for all students through intentional policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, inclusion as the pathway to excellence.
Four strategic priorities guide Powered by Publics work. They are: