Texas A&M Joins Land-Grant Effort To Award More Degrees By 2025
Texas A&M University is a member of the 238 universities and systems comprising the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the group has announced a massive new effort to increase college access, close the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.
The effort, announced recently at the APLU conference in New Orleans, will have 130 participating institutions work within “clusters” of four to 12 institutions that 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 project, called Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, 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.
The 130 institutions in the effort reflect a wide array of institutional characteristics such as enrollment, student demographics, regional workforce needs, and selectivity. The broad diversity of the institutions is intended to help create a playbook of adaptable student success reforms that can be adopted and scaled up across a variety of institution types – including those with limited resources.
“Texas A&M was honored to be selected by APLU to be a member of this important initiative as one of the largest institutions in the country,” said Tim Scott, assistant provost and professor of biology.
“It aligns perfectly with our land-grant mission and the recently announced Student Success Initiative. We hope to bring to bear a research lens by which student success is measured and to become a national leader in first-generation student retention and graduation.”
The clusters have identified anticipated focus areas for their work. One cluster, for example, expects to work collaboratively to integrate data collection systems across each of their campuses to better monitor student progress and make data-informed decisions. Another cluster expects to tackle financial aid and student financial literacy, while a separate cluster is planning to work to integrate career advising early into a student’s academic journey to both speed students’ path to a degree and better prepare them for the workforce.
Texas A&M is included among the high enrollment clusters, along with the University of Texas; University of California-Davis; University of Florida; University of Oregon; University of Utah and the University of Washington.
The overall 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. Participating institutions commit to sharing data and innovative, successful practices to help drive progress across the entire sector of public higher education.
In addition, 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.