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Student Achievement

We define student achievement as the demonstration of competence in applying knowledge and skills gained through academic work. Such competence is evident both in and beyond the classroom. Traditional measures of student achievement include degree completion rates, pass rates of comprehensive exams (100% for the past 5 years), and pass rates for the AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) exam. In addition to these traditional measures, we also place a high premium on measures that capture a student's success in interacting with the profession and the variety of planning jobs our graduates obtain.

Measures include the percentage of eligible students employed in an internship while a student, students and alumni presenting at local, state, and national professional organization meetings (e.g. American Planning Association), students or student teams winning awards for their project-oriented work, and post-graduate employment rates in the field.

Virtually all domestic students who want an internship are able to be placed in a paid position that is part-time during the academic year and full-time during the summer. Placement is more challenging for international students. Assistance is provided to students studying on an F1 visa to help place them in internships that qualify under the Curricular Practical Training provisions of their visa. Of the 18 graduates in 2019, 15 or 83% had at least one paid internship during their time as students.  Of the 19 graduates in 2020, 12 or 63% had at least one paid internship. 

For job placement rates, two years later, 91% of the 2018 graduates are employed in planning related jobs.  One year later, 83% of the 2019 graduates have planning related jobs. Those graduating in 2020 at the beginning and at the height of the pandemic, 12 (63%) have planning related jobs and 3 are continuing their educations.

As a sampling of recent student achievements, KU UBPL students won New Horizon Team Awards from the Kansas Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) in 2014, 2015, and 2019 and an Individual New Horizon award in 2017. Five students presented posters at the 2015 National APA conference, three at the 2017 conference, one at the 2017 Pacific Northwest Political Science Conference, two at the 2015 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference, one at the 2019 National Adaptation Forum (Best Student Poster award winner), one poster at the 2019 ACSP Conference, and one presenter at the ACSP Conference. In 2018 three students’ poetry celebrating National Community Planning month was featured in Planning magazine. Two students were in “Student and Active Alum Spotlight” features on the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning website in 2017. KU UBPL students have been Helene M. Overly Scholarship recipients in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 from the WTS-Kansas City (Transportation Chapter). 

KU alumni, also known as Jayhawk Planners, serve as officers with the Kansas Chapter of APA and the Kansas City Section of APA. In 2019 alumni also served on national APA’s American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Commission and the AICP Ethics Committee (2019 – 2021). Four alumni presented at the 2019 Quad State Planning conference and 6 at the 2019 National Planning Conference. Numerous alumni were speakers in sessions eligible for AICP certification continuing maintenance across the country. One presented at an international webinar for the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2020. One was recently honored as one of “Mass Transit’s 40 under 40” in 2020 and another as “Young Water Professional of the Year”. Alumni worked on 2 national APA award winning projects in 2019. Alumni were part of two Great Places in America winners: 2019’s Great Neighborhood – Downtown Lee’s Summit, MO and 2010’s Great Street – Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, KS. Also two alumni have authored or co-authored two Zoning Practice reports in 2018 and 2019 for APA and 1 has co-authored a PAS Memo for APA in 2018. In 2020, an alumna was a juror choosing the winners of APA’s National Planning Awards and winner of the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award.

The variety of planning jobs our alumni have is indicative of their flexibility and the transferability of their skills.  Alumni have positions with cities, counties, states, councils of governments, metropolitan planning organizations, nonprofits, consulting firms, national level agencies in the U.S. and abroad, development companies, law firms, and universities.

2020-21 Tuition and Fees  
In State Residents, per full-time academic year* $10,661.00
Out of State Residents, per full-time academic year* $24,623.00
Student Retention Rate Percent
Percentage of students who began studies in fall 2019 and continued into fall 2020      67%   
Student Graduation Rate  Percent
Percentage of students graduating within 4 years, entering class of 2016                           


Number of Degrees Awarded            
Number of degrees awarded for the 2019 - 2020 Academic Year                           21
AICP Certification Percent  
Percentage of master's graduates taking the AICP exam within 5 years who pass, graduating class of 2015              88%        
Employment Percent  
Percentage of fulltime graduates obtaining professional planning, planning-related or other positions within 12 months of graduation, graduating class of 2019                             83%                    

*May be less depending on student course selection


KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times