West Virginia State University Helps Launch Unprecedented National Effort to Increase College Access, Equity & Postsecondary Attainment

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
Dec. 17, 2018
West Virginia State University Helps Launch Unprecedented National Effort 
to Increase College Access, Equity & Postsecondary Attainment
130 Public Research Universities and Systems Pledge to Work Collaboratively to Increase College Access, Eliminate the Achievement Gap, and Award Hundreds of Thousands More Degrees By 2025
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State University (WVSU) is participating in Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, a massive 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. 

Organized by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), participating institutions will work within “clusters” of four to 12 institutions to 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.

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. 

“We look forward to collaborating with the institutions in our cluster as we work to address the financial needs of our students and remove the barriers that may hinder their ability to pursue a college education,” said WVSU President Dr. Anthony L. Jenkins. “Ensuring that a degree is within reach for the citizens of West Virginia and the nation is imperative to maintain a vibrant workforce and a strong, healthy economy.”

WVSU and West Virginia University, the state’s two land-grant institutions, are the only universities in the state participating in the initiative. Both are part of a cluster that also includes Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, Mississippi State University, The University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of Louisiana-Lafayette and the University of Southern Mississippi. The group will work to find more effective strategies for addressing the financial needs of students.

“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.”

By design, the participating institutions 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.

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.

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.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  With a membership of 238 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement.   Annually, member campuses enroll 4.8 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $44.9 billion in university-based research.
- WVSU -
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