Ascendium Education Group Awards NACUBO Planning Grant to Advance Student Success Efforts

May 28, 2020 – To develop an infrastructure for a multi-institution, multi-initiative process focused on student success at colleges and universities, NACUBO has been awarded a $1.1 million planning grant from Ascendium Education Group.

NACUBO’s work will establish collaborative practices for business and academic leaders to identify how their institutions can realize financially sustainable practices and achieve returns on investment (ROI) by funding student success reforms. Ultimately, this work seeks to move institutions towards sustainable, institution-wide financial and operational activities that increase net revenue and student completion. To do this, NACUBO will engage with colleges and universities to design business models that achieve more equitable student completion rates and will apply these gains in student outcomes with the associated positive impacts on net revenues for the institutions.

NACUBO, in strategic partnership with Sova, will explore reasons some institutions are not implementing proven practices that support student success and increase completion rates for all learners. Work also will include an examination of federal and state policies that impact student success and equity issues. Work will be completed with the intention of establishing systems and processes that can be replicated or leveraged by other institutions, with necessary customization.

The work aims to demonstrate that removing barriers to student success and increasing net tuition revenues are not mutually exclusive. By engaging institutions in a process of learning, inventing, examining, and networking to build a system of supports, it is expected that continuous improvement of practices can be achieved. Models that leverage “ROI thinking” to guide prioritization and use a network model to facilitate a stronger understanding of the strategic value of investment in student success are expected to be developed and shared as the result of this investment by Ascendium.

The grant will fund work with institutions that enroll high percentages of students who are typically underserved, including community colleges, smaller, rural institutions, and small to mid-size regional public institutions. The project team expects to gather insights from approximately 100 institutions and present the findings in July 2021.

Founded in 1962, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a nonprofit professional organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at more than 1,900 colleges and universities across the country. NACUBO’s mission is to advance the economic vitality, business practices, and support of higher education institutions in pursuit of their missions. For more information, visit

About Ascendium Education Group
Ascendium Education Group is committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. We invest in projects designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Our work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit

About Sova
Sova focuses on improving the quality and accelerating the pace of complex problem solving in the areas of higher education and workforce development. Animated by a core commitment to advancing socioeconomic mobility for more Americans, Sova pursues its mission through distinctive approaches to will-building, strategic planning, change leadership and process improvement. For more information, visit

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