News Release from AASCU


Contact: Jennifer Walpole (202) 478-4665


(Washington, D.C.)—Fourteen corporate sponsors have signed-on to support the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) “Re-Imagining the First Year of College” project, a three-year initiative to develop comprehensive, institutional transformation that redesigns the first year of college and creates sustainable change for student success. Joining alongside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA Funds, and 44 AASCU member institutions, the corporate partners will provide both programmatic and financial support for the project.

“In an era when our institutions face complex challenges serving their students, they increasingly rely on the resources and expertise provided by corporate partners. We are thrilled that many of the nation’s leading higher education companies will be sharing their subject matter expertise and resources with our campuses," said George Mehaffy, AASCU's vice president for academic leadership and change.     

The first year of college has emerged as the critical barrier to college success, the point at which colleges experience the greatest loss of students. The RFY project recognizes that no single intervention will solve student performance, and that solutions that fail to reflect the differing needs of a changing student body will not be successful.

The institutions participating in RFY will form a learning community that reviews and shares evidence-based practices, programs and implementation strategies. The RFY initiative entails a comprehensive, “top-down, bottom-up” approach that engages the whole campus in focusing on four key areas to help first-year students succeed: institutional intentionality, curriculum redesign, changes in faculty and staff roles, and changes in student roles. The project will build a robust collection of integrated strategies, programs and approaches that participating campuses can adapt to improve student success. As the project advances, AASCU will share key findings with the broader higher education community. 

Company representatives will participate fully in RFY programming and the RFY online community, as well share expertise with campus teams via webinars and online resources. For more information about RFY, please visit

Participating Companies:

  • Academic Innovations
  • Ad Astra Information Systems
  • AdviseStream
  • ETS
  • Hobsons, Inc.
  • InsideTrack
  • John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education
  • Learningateway, LLC
  • Pearson
  • Ruffalo Noel Levitz
  • Skyfactor
  • Student Opportunity Center
  • Taskstream
  • The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative  

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.