LSU has announced it’s joining a national initiative to increase college access, close disparities between different types of students and award more degrees by 2025.
The initiative is the largest-ever of its kind, reaching some 3 million students—including 1 million Pell Grant recipients—from 130 institutions across the country. Organized by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, the “Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success” initiative will be overseen by APLU’s Center for Public University Transformation, which the association created this year to drive change across the public higher education sector.
LSU Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Support Services Matt Lee says the university’s involvement in the program will allow it to share data on best practices with peer institutions. LSU is one of the 11 institutions participating in the “Southern Cluster,” which also includes the Southern University System, the University of Alabama System, and the University of Mississippi, among others.
“LSU is a leader in Louisiana regarding retention and graduation rates and in the past few years has regularly broken our records for minority graduation classes and diversity among our student body,” Lee says. “We hope those records continue to be broken.”
Each of the program’s 16 “clusters” will also work to solve a specific institutional issue. The Southern Cluster will explore ways to integrate career advising early into a student’s academic career, says LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard.
LSU’s announcement comes on the heels of its adoption of a holistic admissions process in which students who fall short of normal GPA and ACT score requirements are still considered for admission based on other qualitative measures. The university also welcomed its largest and most diverse freshman class of 5,800 students this fall.