The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) named Northern Arizona University the winner of its 2020 Degree Completion Award during a ceremony at its annual meeting Monday in Washington, D.C. The annual award recognizes institutions that employ innovative and evidence-based approaches to improve degree completion while ensuring educational quality.
“As a first-generation student myself, I understand the challenges first-generation students experience, and that is why I am so proud of all of NAU’s efforts to help bridge this gap,” said NAU President Rita Cheng in a press release. “I am grateful to APLU for recognizing the work of our faculty and staff in helping make first-generation success a reality.”
Among its efforts to increase student success, especially in first-generation students, NAU created its Office of First-Generation Programs in 2014 as well as introduced a university-wide student success and predictive analytics platform and coordinated efforts to support just-in-time outreach that address student needs.
The university’s overall four-year degree completion rate has increased by 12% while its six-year graduation rate has increased 7.2%. NAU has also seen an increase in the completion rate for its students of color by 14.5%. Due to these efforts, NAU has increased the number of bachelors’ degrees it awards annually by more than 1,500.