By Elle Carlos | Staff Writer |
California State University representatives met with the State Legislator in Sacramento to discuss the need to continue improving graduation rates at Impact Day on Jan. 19.
As reported in The Sun, 13 percent of the CSUSB 2008 freshmen class graduated in four years while 48 percent received their degree in six years.
“The average time to a degree now is 4.7 years,” stated Laurie Weidner, spokeswoman for the CSU Chancellor’s office in The Sun.
Representatives from 20 of the 23 CSUs were in attendance at the meeting along with both Cal Poly Pomona and San Luis Obispo.
CSUSB President Tomás Morales, accompanied by two CSUSB representatives, an alumnus and a student, spoke with 10 local legislators.
“It was a blessing and great chance to go up and represent the school and myself,” said Damarea Parker, CSUSB Alumnus and Educational Opportunity Program Renaissance Scholar.
The goal was to emphasize the strides this campus made to increase graduation rates and provide student testimonials.
“The majority of CSUSB students are first generation college students, meaning that neither parent holds a bachelors degree. Fully 84 percent of the recently admitted class (the class of 2019) are first-generation college students,” stated Mark Edwards, Vice Chair of the CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation Board and donor to the Renaissance Scholars program.
According to the Long Beach Press Telegram, CSUs are at their peak with 57 percent of first time freshman graduating within six years and 19 percent of freshman from 2011 graduating in four years.
Although, Chancellor White noted that this only counted first-time and full-time students.
“This approach can lead to inappropriate conclusions as it leaves out the grit and successes of over half our students today.
So many of our students have work, family, and community obligations who cannot take 15 credits per semester,” stated White in the Long Beach Press Telegram.
The “Coyote First Step” and “Early Start” programs were implemented to assist incoming student graduation rates by providing a summer college resident experience, while also taking remedial math and english courses, according to earlystart.csusb.edu.
By participating, students no longer need to take remedial courses during the academic year that do not count towards graduation requirements.
“We know that, given adequate support, students will succeed, and we know what programs will help them,” stated Pam Langford, director of executive affairs at CSUSB in The Sun.
To continue providing students with opportunities to get on the path of a four year graduation, the CSU Board of Trustees requested an extra $102 million from Gov. Brown.
Chancellor White has a goal to increase graduation rates of first-time freshmen to 60 percent and cut the achievement gap for minority and low-income first-time freshman in half with the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, “Nationally, fewer than 5 percent of young people in foster care will attain a bachelors degree.
The Renaissance Scholars at CSUSB currently have a graduation rate of approximately 51 percent,” stated Edwards.
“That speaks to the success (and importance) of the EOP Renaissance Scholars program, and to the fact that the graduation initiatives at CSUSB can have significant and positive effects on graduation rates for the larger student population,” added Edwards.
“Much of my success was due to support from CSUSB and the EOP,” said Parker, after describing CSUSB as “a gem in the community” with “genuine staff.”
“If I could to do it all over again, I’d choose to come here,” concluded Parker.