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UTSA helps launch unprecedented national effort to increase college access and boost student success rates

UTSA helps launch unprecedented national effort to increase college access and boost student success rates

(Dec. 20, 2018) -- UTSA is participating in Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, an ambitious national collaboration to improve college access, advance equity and increase the number of college degrees awarded to low-income, first-generation and minority students.

In all, 130 public universities and university systems that collectively enroll three million students are working together on the five-year project. The Association of Public and Land Grant Universities is leading the initiative, which is focused on developing and implementing innovative and effective practices to advance student success across the nation.

To advance the project, 16 university clusters have been formed. Each will focus on solving different pieces of the student success puzzle. Together, the clusters will aim to erode long-standing barriers to success, eliminate the achievement gap, reduce costs for students, prepare students to thrive in the 21st century workforce and collectively increase the number of degrees they award.

“UTSA is committed to expanding the pipeline of highly trained professionals to fill the jobs of the future,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “Our participation in Powered by Publics demonstrates how much we care about improving college access and student success outcomes, particularly for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students.”

UTSA is a collaborator in Cluster 11, called the “High-Pell Cluster,” which will develop strategies to improve institutional flexibility, assess the financial and essential needs of students, promote cultural connections, enhance academic and social achievement and facilitate the transfer process. Northern Arizona University, Northern Illinois University, Rutgers University-Newark, Texas State University, UT-El Paso, University of California, Merced and University of North Texas, all Hispanic Serving Institutions like UTSA, complete the High-Pell Cluster.

The effort will be 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.

“Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a real and growing enthusiasm among public university leaders to advance college completion nationally,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “We have to seize the moment and mobilize institutions to improve not just college access, but also equity in student outcomes and the number of students who earn degrees. That’s what Powered by Publics is all about and why we’re thrilled to work with our member institutions toward such an important national goal.”

As each cluster progresses, its findings will be shared with the other participating institutions to help spur lasting change across the higher education sector.

In October 2017, Eighmy launched the President’s Initiative on Student Success. Led by Interim Vice President for Student Success Rhonda M. Gonzales, the Student Success Task Force is taking a student-centric approach to dramatically improve the university’s retention and graduation rates.

“The opportunity to partner with APLU on the Powered by Publics project aligns perfectly with our goals to improve student outcomes. We are excited to work with our cluster schools to deliver on the promise of public universities,” said Gonzales.

UTSA offers nearly 160 degree programs to 32,000 students, including more than 4,100 graduate students. It is a university of first choice for students from Texas, across the nation and 86 countries. More than 60 percent of UTSA students are from underrepresented groups and 45 percent are first-generation college students.

By 2023, UTSA aims to achieve a four-year graduation rate of 35 percent and a six-year graduation rate of 60 percent.

Kara Soria


Learn more about UTSA’s Presidential Initiative on Student Success.

Learn more about Powered by Publics.

Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.



UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.