UCF has joined an alliance of 11 public universities focused on helping more low-income and first-generation students earn college degrees.

The goal of the alliance is to form a “national playbook” of programs that will benefit these students. A recent statistic shows that high-income students are seven times more likely to attain a college degree than low-income students.

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Currently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and four other organizations have contributed $5.7 million to support the University Innovation Alliance’s to help expand the program.

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“Through this unprecedented collaboration, we will help more students across the country earn high-quality, four-year degrees and experience the life-changing opportunities that accompany those degrees,” UCF President Hitt said in a release. “My UCF colleagues and I are eager to learn from our partners and share our best ideas and innovations.”

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The universities involved in the alliance are all large institutions, with over 378,000 combined undergraduate students.

DirectConnect, one of the big innovations created by UCF, is now being copied by fellow alliance partner Arizona State University. The DirectConnect program guarantees admission for students at one of the four partner state colleges–Valencia College, Seminole State College, Lake-Sumter State College and Eastern Florida State College at UCF after completing their associate’s degree.

Joining UCF as alliance members are Arizona State, Georgia State, Iowa State, Michigan state, Oregon State, Purdue, Ohio State, University of California at Riverside, Kansas, and University of Texas at Austin.