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Graduation Initiative 2025

$105 Million

As Graduation Initiative 2025 enters its fourth year, the CSU expects to invest $105 million of the 2020-21 operating budget request to meet the ambitious goals adopted by each campus. Launched in 2016, this initiative aims to increase graduation rates for first-time and transfer students and eliminate equity gaps for historically-underserved students of color and Pell Grant recipients. Reducing time to degree means that graduates enter the workforce or graduate school sooner, positively impacting their future and producing additional graduates to power California.

Graduation Rates Are at All-Time Highs

Systemwide, the four-year graduation rates for first-time students improved by two percentage points compared to last year and by six percentage points over the last three years. Since 2015, nearly all campuses have increased their four-year graduation rate:

Based on preliminary 2019 data, four- and six-year graduation rates for first-time students and two- and four-year rates for transfer students continue to increase and have reached all-time highs. These remarkable improvements represent the dedication of CSU faculty and staff, intentional action by campus leaders and a systemwide focus on student success.

  • Each year, a greater number of students graduate from the CSU. Since 2015, more than 20,000 additional students have earned a baccalaureate degree.
  • The systemwide four-year graduation rate increased two percentage points from the previous year and eight percentage points since 2015.
  • Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, Maritime, Pomona, Sacramento, San Diego, San José and Sonoma all have improved their four-year graduation rate by double digits.
  • The systemwide six-year graduation rate increased to 62 percent, above the national average for public universities.
  • The CSU is on track to meet its systemwide graduation rate goals ​​by 2025.

These efforts ensure that all students have the opportunity to earn a degree, empowering current and future generations of Californians. More information about specific systemwide and campus priorities can be found at calstate.edu/graduationinitiative​.


​CSU Systemwide Graduation Initiative 2025 Progress
GRADUATION RATES2016
​2017
​2018
​2019
​​2025 Goal
First-time Students4-Year21%
23%25%​27%
40%
 
6-Year59%
59%61%​62%
70%
Transfer2-Year33%
35%38%
​40%
45%
 
4-Year74%
75%77%​77%
85%
EQUITY GAPS
Underserved Students of Color 12.0%
12.2%
10.5%
​11.1%
0.0%
Pell Grant Recipients​
 
10.0%
10.6%
9.5%
​10.2%
​0.0%

Continued Focus on Eliminating Equity Gaps

Closing equity gaps in higher education is the challenge of our time. CSU campuses are rising to that challenge, continuing university-wide efforts to eliminate equity gaps. While graduation rates continue to rise for students from all backgrounds, the persistence of the equity gaps underscores the need for an explicit focus at every level of the university.

  • Since 2015, Fresno, San Diego, San Francisco, Sonoma and Stanislaus all have decreased their equity gap for historically underserved students of color by at least 50 percent.
  • The new systemwide academic preparation policies (Executive Order 1110) are having a tremendous impact on student success, particularly for students of color. Last year, 7,000 more students successfully completed a lower-division mathematics course than in the previous year, earning credit, saving money and keeping them on track to earn their degree in a timely manner.

Continuous state funding for Graduation Initiative 2025 is critical to maintain momentum. Campuses will continue to use these funds to offer more courses, hire additional tenure-track faculty and to advance innovative student success practices, with a focus on these six areas:

  • Academic Preparation
  • Enrollment Management
  • Student Engagement and Well-Being
  • Financial Support
  • Data-Informed Decision Making
  • Administrative Barriers

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