UMaine helps launch unprecedented national effort to increase college access, equity and degree attainment

The University of Maine is one of 130 public universities and systems nationwide leading a new initiative to increase college access; eliminate the achievement gap for low-income, minority and first-generation college students; and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.

The nationwide initiative, Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, was announced Nov. 11 by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) at its annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Together, the 130 public research institutions participating in Powered by Publics enroll 3 million students, more than a third of whom receive Pell Grants.

UMaine and the collaborating institutions will each work in one of 16 clusters of up to 12 universities, concurrently implementing innovative and effective practices to advance student success. UMaine will serve as the lead institution for the “Northern Cluster.” Areas of focus include financial aid and student financial literacy, and integration of career advising early in students’ academic careers to speed their path to a degree and better prepare them for the workforce. Also key: best practices in monitoring students’ academic progress to make institutional, data-informed decisions.

Collectively, Powered by Publics institutions will create “a playbook for implementing reforms that advance student success,” according to APLU.

“UMaine is a student-centered university dedicated to ensuring graduates are prepared to be successful in the workforce,” says Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias. “UMaine student success includes high-quality teaching and learning connected to cutting-edge research and scholarship, engagement in and out of the classroom, and attention to retention and degree completion in four years.

“As a participating member of Powered by Publics, UMaine’s efforts in accessibility, equity and completion will be enhanced through this nationwide collaboration that has the potential to transform public higher education. And, the excellent ongoing work underway in Academic Affairs and Student Life addressing these issues will contribute to the thinking of the project.”

APLU is a Washington, D.C.-based research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its Center for Public University Transformation oversees Powered by Publics, and will share data and innovative, successful practices to help drive progress and lasting change across public higher education.

An APLU news release and video about Powered by Publics are online.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745