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University Innovation Alliance Adds First New Members; Publishes New Data on Existing Institutions’ Ambitious Graduation Goals

University Innovation Alliance Adds First New Members; Publishes New Data on Existing Institutions’ Ambitious Graduation Goals

Time To Read: 5 minutes

University Innovation Alliance expands for the first time in six years as founding members exceed graduation targets by over 73,000 students 

PORTLAND, OREGON  (June 7, 2021) The University Innovation Alliance, a pioneering consortium of public research universities working to improve student success, announced that the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) were selected to become the first institutions to join the consortium since its founding in 2014. The organization’s expansion follows the release of new data which shows that UIA’s founding members have exceeded graduation targets set during President Obama’s College Opportunity Summit.

At its launch in late 2014, the UIA presidents set a goal to graduate an additional 68,000 students above their projected graduation rates over the course of 10 years, and committed that half of those students graduated would come from low-income backgrounds. Six years in, the UIA member institutions have exceeded that goal by graduating an additional 73,573 students, increasing the number of graduates from low-income backgrounds by 36 percent and graduates of color by 73 percent. The founding institutions are now projected to graduate a total of 136,000 students by 2023 -- double the original goal launched at the White House College Opportunity Day of Action in 2014. 

“The significant, two-fold increase in successful graduates supported by the joint efforts of the UIA reflects the power and progress that is possible when higher education trades its silos for collaboration capable of producing creative and workable solutions for educating at scale,” said Michael Crow, founding chair of the University Innovation Alliance and president of Arizona State University. “Drawing on our knowledge and the valuable lessons learned during 2020, we are excited to grow our prolific network with the help of UMBC and N.C. A&T, both outstanding institutions that fully understand what better educational outcomes mean for learners and America’s future.”

As part of the Alliance’s next phase of work, campuses will focus on eliminating disparities in educational outcomes based on race and ethnicity -- in addition to doubling down on its focus to address disparities by income, generational status, gender, and geography. 

  • Since its founding, the Alliance has worked together to test, iterate, and scale proven student success initiatives-- such as predictive analytics, proactive advising, completion grants, student success chatbots, and new career services -- across its network. Most recently, the Alliance released its Completion Grant Playbook, based on it’s pilot to provide $3.6 million dollars’ worth of small grants to help nearly 5,000 students complete their degree or remain enrolled in the university.

With the Alliance’s expanded focus on addressing racial gaps comes the first addition of two like-minded institutions to the UIA. 

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the country’s largest public Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and the largest producer of Black undergraduates in both engineering and agriculture, as well as Black graduates in mathematics and statistics.  A land grant, doctoral research institution and constituent campus of the University of North Carolina System, It is the state’s third-most productive public research university, with nationally recognized strengths in STEM education. It is among the nation’s top national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings in Innovation, Undergraduate Teaching and Social Mobility.

“We are delighted to join forces with ambitious and innovative peer institutions who share our commitment to reimagining what we do to be student centered, and transforming the future of higher education so that every student can succeed,” said Harold L. Martin, Sr., chancellor of North Carolina A&T. “Our university has made strong progress in these areas over the past decade, and we are eager to both share our approaches and dialogue with others on innovation that might lead to further success.”

University of Maryland, Baltimore County opened its doors in 1966 as a campus for students of all races. It is ranked by Times Higher Education as one of the top 10 U.S. universities for social and economic impact and is the number one U.S. producer of African American graduates who go on to earn an M.D./Ph.D. Upon graduating, 87 percent of UMBC graduates head directly into a job, advanced degree, or both. Of those employed, a majority of students interned or worked for their employer as students. Just last year, 73 percent of students held a paid internship and over 3,300 students and alumni visited the Career Center for coaching. 

“I have long admired the ambitious work of the University Innovation Alliance,” said Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “Over the last two decades we have worked tirelessly to create a culture that is committed to innovative teaching, relevant research and creating a supportive community to help inspire students, and we are excited to share our insights and tools with the UIA community.”

“When thinking about the next chapter of the UIA, we reviewed the outcomes and mission of every R1 & R2 institution in the country. A&T and UMBC immediately stood out for their leadership and demonstrated commitment to student success,” said UIA Executive Director Bridget Burns. “We look forward to learning from them, and advancing an even more ambitious agenda on the behalf of students. We’re just getting started.” 

To read more about the University Innovation Alliance’s work to date, visit or check out this report.


About the University Innovation Alliance
The University Innovation Alliance is a national consortium of large public research universities spanning the geographic, economic and social diversity of our country. Together, we are working to regain America's economic competitive edge by helping more students graduate with a high-quality and affordable education. We do this by broadening participation in higher education and implementing proven programs that significantly improve graduation rates for all students regardless of socioeconomic background. Founding members of the Alliance include: Arizona State University, Georgia State University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, Purdue University, The Ohio State University, University of California, Riverside, University of Central Florida, University of Kansas, and The University of Texas at Austin. For more information, visit

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