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CSU Helps Launch National Effort to Increase Attainment

130 public universities pledge to award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025


Cleveland State University is participating in an innovative new effort in which 130 public universities and systems will work together to increase college access, close the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025. The participating institutions will work within “clusters” of four to 12 institutions as they concurrently implement innovative and effective practices to advance student success on their campuses. Collectively, the institutions enroll 3 million students, including 1 million students who receive Pell Grants.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), which is organizing the collaborative effort, known as Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, announced the initiative at its 131st Annual Meeting now underway in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Powered by Publics represents the largest ever collaborative effort to improve college access, advance equity, and increase college degrees awarded. In addition to committing to those goals, participating institutions have pledged to share aggregate data demonstrating their progress to help spur lasting change across the higher education sector. 

“Access, equity and student success are in CSU’s DNA and we are honored to be participating in this important initiative,” noted Harlan Sands, president of Cleveland State. “Increasing higher education attainment is a key to economic growth and community development and we are looking forward to partnering with the APLU to create a comprehensive, multi-university effort to address this key challenge.”

“Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a real and growing enthusiasm among public university leaders to advance college completion nationally,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “We have to seize the moment and mobilize institutions to improve not just college access, but also equity in student outcomes and the number of students who earn degrees. That’s what Powered by Publics is all about and why we’re thrilled to work with our member institutions toward such an important national goal.”

CSU will help lead the initiative’s urban cluster, which will also include Virginia Commonwealth University, Wayne State University, The University of Memphis, the University of Colorado and Florida International University, among others.

The effort will be overseen by APLU’s Center for Public University Transformation, which the association created this year to help drive transformational change across the public higher education sector. A core value of the Center and its participating institutions will be rooted in a commitment to sharing data and innovative, successful practices to help drive progress across the entire sector of public higher education. The Center will regularly disseminate lessons learned from the participating institutions to the broader public higher education community.

A national advisory council of respected higher education thought leaders will provide a strategic vision and guidance for the Center, which will work to build upon and complement existing initiatives around institutional change and student success.