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APLU Names Cleveland State University as 2016 Project Degree Completion Award Finalist

In recognition of Cleveland State University’s ongoing efforts to enhance student success, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities today named CSU as one of five finalists for its 2016 Project Degree Completion Award. The annual prize recognizes public universities across the country that employ innovative approaches to improve retention and degree completion.

The award includes a $15,000 prize given to the winning institution to further its efforts to improve student outcomes. A panel of seven judges reviewed the applications and determined the finalists. The award winner will be announced and all finalists will be recognized at the APLU Annual Meeting, November 13-15, in Austin, Texas.

CSU was selected due to its nationally recognized student success initiatives which have greatly improved retention and graduation rates while also reducing student debt. By providing detailed semester-by-semester degree maps when students arrive at Cleveland State, the institution ensures students know the courses they will need to complete to graduate in a timely manner. Other key components of the program include summer programming for incoming freshmen who are at risk academically, multi-term registration, and the establishment of the expectation (supported by tuition policies) that full-time students take at least 15-credit loads to graduate in four years.

“Raising degree completion rates remains key to achieving our national goal of 60 percent of adult Americans holding a bachelor’s degree by 2025,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Meeting that goal will require increasing not only the number of students entering college, but just as important, the number graduating. Cleveland State has made great strides in improving student retention and degree completion – and we’re thrilled to share their experiences so other institutions can replicate their approaches and results.” 

The award is part of Project Degree Completion— a joint initiative that APLU and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities developed in which nearly 500 public colleges and universities have pledged to collectively award 3.8 million more degrees by 2025. The other finalists for the 2016 Project Degree Completion are California State University, Fresno; Montana State University; the University of California, Riverside; and Wayne State University.