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ASU Aims To Boost Degrees Awarded To Low-Income Students

Arizona State University is joining with 10 other schools to boost the number of low-income students who attend college and get a degree. The group has raised nearly $6 million to fund its efforts.

ASU President Michael Crow will lead the University Innovation Alliance, which also includes Michigan State, Purdue and The University of Texas at Austin. The schools will share tools and best practices they've developed to engage and support students who come from a variety of economic backgrounds.

"These schools are going to be working together, where traditionally universities are often competing for students or standing," said Kevin Galvin, ASU's Vice President for Strategic Communications. "There's a projected gap in the number of college-educated workers that we'll have in this country. We could fall about 16 million short of the number that we need by 2025."

Galvin said the members of the Innovation Alliance want to see a 5 percent increase in undergraduate degrees awarded within 10 years and that eventually the schools plan to release a playbook that universities around the country can follow.

Nick Blumberg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2014.