Unprecedented National Alliance Formed to Improve College Completion for Low-Income and First-Generation College Students; Raises $5.6 Million

Public Universities Pledge to Share Ideas, Successful Programs

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Published on September 16, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In an unparalleled effort to ensure more low-income students can earn a college degree, 11 major public research institutions announced today an alliance that will test and disseminate proven innovations in education so colleges and universities across the country can be more successful in retaining and graduating all students.

“As a land-grant university, Ohio State is deeply committed to academic excellence while maintaining financial accessibility,” said President Michael V. Drake. “This collective effort in higher education will enable us to prepare more young people for the future work force while enhancing our nation’s position as an innovative global leader.”

The founding members of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) have raised and will match $5.6 million to facilitate the sharing of ideas and to scale proven interventions, with the intention of developing a national “playbook” that will benefit low-income and first-generation college students.

“There is a lot of talk about disruption in higher education. We think that the real disruption will come through collaboration,” said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University and chairman of the UIA. “Colleges typically are forced to compete for students, research support and top spots on college rankings. While there are many institutions that have come up with creative solutions to some of our sectors most urgent problems, those ideas rarely travel far from where they are hatched.”

Today, high-income students are seven times more likely to attain a college degree than are low-income students. The American economy will face a shortage of at least 16 million college graduates by 2025. The founding members of the UIA are focused on addressing the achievement gap and pending shortage at a time when public funding for higher education has been decreasing.

The 11 alliance members serve large numbers of low-income and first-generation college goers, and each institution has pioneered programs to help students succeed in various aspects of their college program. The goals of the UIA are to collaborate to share innovation and adapt successful programs.

The 11 Innovation Alliance members are:

Arizona State University                  The Ohio State University

Georgia State University                  University of California, Riverside

Iowa State University                       University of Central Florida

Michigan State University                University of Kansas

Oregon State University                  The University of Texas at Austin

Purdue University

The UIA member universities will share practices that have yielded significant gains for low-income students.

In generating $5.6 million in funds to start this endeavor, the alliance has garnered the attention and funding support of five major funders, and partnering universities are providing matching funds.

For more information, go to www.theUIA.org.

About The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University is a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 57,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.


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