By Joel Cruz |Staff Writer|
The Four-Year Graduation Pledge Program offered by CSUSB promises to help incoming college freshmen graduate in four years with a signed commitment contract.
The program, which is offered by Advising and Academic Services, is an optional contract in which willing college freshmen students who qualify for the program must meet certain obligations to ensure their completion of a degree in the allotted four years.
These obligations include enrolling in at least 15 units per quarter, maintaining a 2.7 quarterly and CSUSB grade point average, submitting an educational plan within their first academic year, and meeting regularly with their department academic advisor.
In return, the students receive first priority registration or Priority One based on their quarterly academic progress monitored by Undergraduate Studies, according to Advising and Academic Services.
Along with CSUSB, three other CSU campuses maintain similar pilot programs to get students to graduate in four years, according to an article on the LA Times.
For some students, a program like this could be beneficial for incoming college freshmen.
“I think having this program would raise graduation rates. Students will actually be able to get the classes they need and finish on time,” said student Marie Valenzuela.
By 2014, nearly 23 percent of students who enrolled in the program had graduated, more than double the four-year completion rate compared with 2007, according the LA Times.
“I am graduating after six years and with way too much debt compared to a lot of my peers, the cost of college tuition has risen exponentially over the past few decades, it is next to impossible to enroll in a lot of classes until you have the highest priority registration possible, forcing us to extend what would be four-year degrees into five and six years. This program should absolutely be utilized by future freshmen,” said student Kevin Miller.
Of the 4,725 first-time freshmen students from 2003 to 2005 fall quarter cohorts, 11 percent graduated within four years while 43 percent graduated in six years, according to a study done by the CSUSB Office of Institutional Research.
The program began in 2012 and of the several hundred students who applied four years ago, only 37 are still enrolled and are on track to graduate this year, according to an article on Southern California Public Radio.
Despite the many obligations a student enrolled in the pledge must fulfill, some feel that they didn’t think there were any challenges.
“You have to be dedicated and consistent with your schooling, if you are truly committed it will be a breeze,” said student Autumn Lamb, who’s enrolled in the program. “There has been points with being full-time and working fulltime that I thought to myself what did I take on? But in the end it was worth it and I would do it again if I had to.”
“I heard about the program through SOAR and honestly it was the best decision I made, it has helped me with college 100 percent and I never had to struggle with classes that I wanted.” said Lamb.