Oregon State University and 10 other prominent research universities have formed a nationwide alliance aimed at helping retain and ultimately graduate more first-generation students and students from low-income families. The new consortium, known as the University Innovation Alliance, already has received $5.7 million in funding from charitable foundations, which will be matched by the member institutions. The alliance is designed to develop and share best practices on ways to better engage first-generation and low-income students by creating a national “playbook” of successful initiatives. Access to higher education – and success upon matriculating – has long been a priority for OSU President Edward J. Ray, himself a first-generation college student.
“This alliance is near and dear to my heart because I know first-hand how important it is to provide mentoring and resources for these students,” Ray said. “Oregon State has some innovative and successful programs and we look forward to sharing our ideas and learning from other institutions ways we can do even more.” Students from high-income families are seven times more likely to attain a college degree than those from low-income families. The United States will face a shortage of at least 16 million college graduates by 2025, studies show, and the alliance’s founding members are focused on addressing this gap at a time when public funding for higher education has been decreasing. Continue reading