Illinois State University is part of a new nationwide effort to increase college access, close the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more college degrees by 2025. The initiative, known as Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, is organized by The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and brings together 130 public universities and systems.

The participating institutions will work within clusters of four to 12 institutions to 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 for financial assistance.

Illinois State, along with peer institutions within its cluster, will focus efforts to enhance student retention. Each university will share successful practices for monitoring student academic progress and providing increased support for those at risk of failure. Student retention best practices will also be shared with all the universities within the Powered by Publics initiative.

“Illinois State will be working closely with other universities that have similar student body demographics and similar retention and graduation rates,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jan Murphy. “We’ll share our success stories and learn from what works well on other campuses. Enhancing student success is not just the work of one particular area or office, it takes the combined effort of the whole campus community.”

Larry Dietz at a wood podium with banners for Illinois State University in the background.

President Larry Dietz

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 spur lasting change across the higher education sector.  The university clusters will concentrate on different aspects of student success. Focus areas will also include financial aid and student financial literacy, and a deeper integration of career advising to speed degree completion and workforce preparation.

“Illinois State University’s reputation for academic excellence and its strong retention and graduation rates make it a key player in this national effort to enhance college access and completion,” said President Larry Dietz. “Illinois State is committed to supporting its students and helping them achieve their educational goals. We look forward to helping university students across the country succeed through the Powered by Publics initiative, and are honored to have been selected by APLU to join our colleagues in this important and unprecedented project.”

By design, the participating universities 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 effort is 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.