During his annual “State of the CSU” address, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White shared success stories of students, faculty and staff and detailed some of the impacts that the three million living CSU alumni are making on the state every day. White also took the opportunity to unveil the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025 — the next phase of the university’s ongoing effort to boost the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by 100,000 to meet California’s evolving workforce needs.
“At the end of the day, we all – the state and the university – share common cause in seeing more students succeed at higher rates, so they can go on to design California’s future,” said White as he introduced the next round of long-term goals for the initiative. “Achieving our graduation goals over the next decade will be our measures of shared success in the CSU community. This effort will raise the CSU’s already high-standing among peer institutions even higher.”
The target graduation date for the initiative is aligned with a report issued by the Public Policy Institute of California which declared that by 2025 the supply of college educated workers needed to maintain the growth of the world’s seventh biggest economy will fall short of projected demand by one million based on current trends. The CSU is redoubling efforts to ensure it does its part to narrow that gap. Beyond establishing new goals, the university is also fostering relationships with community and industry partners and lawmakers to seek innovative new methods to bolster quality and provide opportunity for the current and future students who will go on to become the state’s future leaders.
“I say that we can build a stronger CSU together,” added White. “We can create new methods of delivering education and services. We can identify practices that work and expand them. And we can build meaningful external partnerships. We can and together we are.”
The California State University (CSU) drives California’s economy with 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students earning high quality degrees each year. CSU students annually earn the largest number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in California. The university’s ability to improve graduation rates is critical to meeting the state’s future workforce demands.
The CSU’s systemwide Graduation Initiative was launched in 2009 to increase graduation rates for all students. Now in its sixth and final year, the goal of the initiative was to raise the CSU’s overall six-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen by eight percentage points by 2015 – from 46 percent to approximately 54 percent – bringing the CSU into the top quartile of national averages of similar institutions.
While data will not be finalized until after the upcoming 2015 commencement, the CSU is on target to reach this critical goal, further benefitting the world’s seventh largest economy.
Graduation Initiative 2025
Based on current completion rates, coupled with “Graduation Initiative 2025” endeavors, the university estimates undergraduate students will earn one million degrees between now and 2025. Over the next decade, “Graduation Initiative 2025” endeavors are expected to boost the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by 100,000 relative to current graduation rates.
The system’s degree completion goals are:
• Increasing the six-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen to 60 percent
• Increasing the four-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen to 24 percent
• Increasing the four-year graduation rate for transfer students to 76 percent
• Increasing the two-year graduation rate for transfer students to 35 percent
• Closing the achievement gap for historically underrepresented students to seven percent
• Closing the achievement gap for low-income students to five percent
The target graduation date for the initiative is aligned with a report issued by the Public Policy Institute of California which declared that by 2025 the supply of college educated workers needed to maintain the growth of the California’s economy will fall short of projected demand by one million based on current trends. These completion rate “stretch” targets apply to students who are currently in the 8th grade. The “stretch” targets estimates are based on baseline data, historical data, and graduation rates of peer institutions as defined by the Education Trust’s Results Online data tool.
Here are some of the strategies the Chancellor’s Office and campuses are employing to reach the “stretch” degree completion targets:
• Reducing the number of units required to earn a BA/BS degree while maintaining quality. Ninety-four (94) percent of BA/BS programs now require only 120 units.
• Expanding high impact practices including undergraduate research, service learning, internships and study abroad which foster student engagement, lead to greater student success and persistence rates.
• Redesigning courses to incorporate technology to improve content retention, especially in the courses with historically high failure rates.
• Expanding the Associate Degree for Transfer program to ensure that transfer students enter the university better academically prepared and ready to complete the remaining 60 credits needed to fulfill degree requirements.
• Expanding cohort-based learning communities that create additional engagement among first-time freshmen and support persistence to degree.
• Expanding Summer Bridge and other transitional programs to foster success among first-time freshmen.
• Expanding the use of electronic academic advising tools to establish clear pathways to degrees and data analysis to improve student outcomes.
• Hiring more tenure track faculty and academic advisors to support student success.
• Expanding the number of CourseMatch course offerings to increase degree completion rates. CourseMatch is an online concurrent enrollment program that provides full-time students enrolled at any campus with access to fully online courses offered at other CSU campuses.
• Building relationships with community and business partners, community colleges and K-12 school districts to ensure first-time freshmen are prepared for college.
CSU Students are Unique:
• More than half of CSU students are students of color
• One-third of CSU undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college
• 49 percent of undergraduates are Pell recipients (need-based grants for low-income undergraduates)
• Three out of four students work more than 20 hours per week
• More than 24,000 first-time freshmen enrolled at CSU campuses in 2013 required developmental coursework for success in college level math and English
As part of ongoing efforts to provide the public and university stakeholders with additional access to financial information, the California State University has launched a new financial transparency portal.
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