APLU Names Finalist for FAU Degree Completion Award 2022

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named Florida Atlantic University a finalist for its 2022 Degree Completion Award. (Photo by Alex Dolce)

As part of its ongoing efforts to support the efforts of public research universities to increase degree completion, the Association of Public and Land-Supported Universities (APLU) today named Florida Atlantic University as a finalist for its 2022 Degree Completion Award. The annual award aims to identify, recognize and reward institutions that use innovative approaches to improve degree completion while ensuring the quality of education. This is the second consecutive year that the APLU has named FAU a finalist for this prestigious award.

“I am very proud of the progress we have made to improve graduation and retention rates while maintaining our commitment to success for everyone, regardless of income, race or first-generation status,” said the FAU President, John Kelly. “It is an honor to be recognized for these efforts, as a two-time finalist for the APLU Diploma Completion Award.”

The FAU has launched a comprehensive plan to close equity gaps, advance student success, and increase college graduation rates. After comprehensively reviewing student achievement scores, broken down by various characteristics, the FAU determined that far too many students lacked adequate support in entry-level courses.

To address this issue, FAU has launched a cross-institutional analytics platform to help inform and track the effectiveness of student success interventions. These reforms included: the adoption of standardized “flight plans”, allowing students to easily see the optimal course progression to a certain degree; addressing course bottlenecks that prevented students from graduating in a timely manner; and innovative financial aid encouraging students to enroll for the next semester.

The multi-pronged approach has allowed the FAU to more than double its graduation rate over four years, from 19% in 2014 to 50% in 2021. Crucially, the gains have been greatest among historically underserved groups , including Black, Latino, and Pell-eligible students.

“Ensuring that students complete a life-changing academic education is at the very heart of the mission of public research universities,” said APLU President Mark Becker. “Congratulations to this year’s Diploma Completion Award finalists. They have made significant progress in student success, especially among students from underrepresented backgrounds. Their efforts deserve greater attention.

FAU is one of the most diverse public research universities in the country. It is the highest ranked Florida State University by US News and World Report and listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac. It is also the No. 17 licensed producer for African-American students nationwide by Miscellaneous: Education issues, as well as designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

The Annual Diploma Completion Award is open to all APLU members. A panel of external reviewers reviewed the entries to determine the finalists. The winner will be announced at the APLU annual meeting, which will take place November 6-8 in Denver, Colorado.


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