CORVALLIS, Ore. – As part of a national consortium focused on increasing the number of low-income college graduates, Oregon State University graduated 45% more students in 2020 than in 2013, with low-income graduates increasing 17% during those years and the number of students of color graduating increasing 117%.

That national consortium, the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), announced this week that it has outpaced goals it set eight years ago to increase the number of graduates, particularly low-income students and students of color, at its 10 member institutions.

At Oregon State, the number of graduates increased from 3,911 students in 2012-13 to 5,670 in 2019-20. Low-income graduates increased from 1,750 to 2,040 during those years and the number of students of color graduating jumped from 677 to 1,466.

The increasing number of graduates was bolstered by Oregon State’s Undergraduate Student Success Initiative, which sought to advance student success by expanding student support services, particularly advising and financial aid, changing learning models, and providing instructors and administrators better and more timely data about students. An OSU Foundation effort has raised more than $150 million to support the initiative. 

“OSU’s commitment to student success, increased graduation rates among all students, and closing opportunity gaps remains a top university priority,” said Becky Johnson, Oregon State’s interim president. “While we celebrate important success to date, our work within OSU and the University Innovation Alliance nationally to serve learner success among all students continues.”

Oregon State is a founding member of the University Innovation Alliance, which launched in 2014 with the goal of broadening participation in higher education and implementing proven programs that significantly improve graduation rates for all students, regardless of socioeconomic background. 

Leaders of the alliance institutions set a goal in 2014 to graduate an additional 68,000 students above their baseline projections over the next 10 years and committed that half of those graduates would come from low-income backgrounds

Several years early, alliance schools have exceeded that goal by collectively graduating 73,573 students above their baseline projections, increasing the number of graduates from low-income backgrounds by 36%, and graduates of color by 73%.

The institutions are now projected to graduate a total of 136,000 students above their initial projections by 2023.

“Oregon State University and its leadership have been a critical partner in our efforts to advance an ambitious agenda on the behalf of students,” said UIA Executive Director Bridget Burns. “The university should be very proud of its progress to date, but we all know there’s more work to be done and we look forward to this next phase of collaboration and innovation.”

Other founding members of the alliance are Arizona State University, Georgia State University, Iowa State University, Michigan 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. The alliance has also just announced that University of Maryland, Baltimore County and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University were selected to become the first institutions to join the consortium since its founding.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


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