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.
“Northern Arizona University has invested in equity, student success, and degree completion and students have benefited significantly from the university’s efforts. We’re excited to spotlight their work so the higher education community can learn from it,” APLU President Peter McPherson said.
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