We are part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Powered by Publics initiative.
Through this four-year effort, launched last year, the APLU has 130 institutions working collaboratively to dramatically increase the number of college degrees awarded by 2025, eliminate achievement gaps while expanding access, and share key data and proven practices.
We are part of the south central cluster of schools working on issues of meeting student financial need. Our partner universities are Alcorn State University, Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, Mississippi State University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Southern Mississippi, West Virginia State University, and West Virginia University.
Our university’s effort is being overseen by Vice Provost for Academic Affairs R. J. Hinde.
Among the cluster’s goals are the following:
- Develop strategies to improve transparency and simplify systems
- Create leaner communications approaches, including social media
- Develop financial literacy solutions
- Develop emergency and retention grants
- Create innovation strategies for need-based financial resources
This year, individually and as clusters, universities are assessing their current capacities in their assigned issue areas. Over the next three years, clusters will collaborate to develop and pilot initiatives and share the strategies that work with the full group.
We have several projects in the works that fit nicely into our APLU cluster effort. Both the HOPE Protection Partnership and the HOPE Recovery program provide support for students who may lose—or who have lost—the lottery-based scholarship. We are also working to increase the availability of on-campus employment for students through strategic use of the federal work-study program and to integrate financial literacy into our communications with new first-year students and their families.
The Powered by Publics initiative falls under the APLU’s new Center for Public University Transformation, created to help drive transformational change across the public higher education sector. It is supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.