Data released today demonstrates that California State University (CSU) campuses continue to make strides in improving student achievement through the Graduation Initiative 2025.  Graduation rates for first-time freshmen and transfer students reached all-time highs and equity gaps between students from historically underserved communities and other students narrowed.

"Ensuring the success of every student continues to be foundational to the work underway at every California State University campus," said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. "I am extremely proud of the remarkable efforts and commitment from students, faculty and staff to achieve these gains. The CSU continues to be the key to a bright future for California and for those who earn high-quality college degrees here. These data demonstrate that sustained investment in the CSU is producing good results, and with additional financial support from the state, we can maintain this positive trajectory for students."

The preliminary data released today show that since the launch of Graduation Initiative 2025:

  • The four-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen has increased 6 percentage points from 19.2 percent in 2015 to 25.4 percent in 2018 (a 32 percent increase).
  • The six-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen has increased 4 percentage points from 57 percent in 2015 to 61.1 percent in 2018 (a 7 percent increase).
  • The two-year graduation rate for transfer students has increased 7 percentage points from 30.5 percent in 2015 to 37.6 percent in 2018 (a 23 percent increase).
  • The four-year graduation rate for transfer students has increased 4 percentage points from 72.9 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2018 (a 6 percent increase).

Additionally, the 2018 graduation rates indicate that the CSU has begun to close persistent equity gaps:

  • The graduation rate gap between underrepresented students of color and their peers narrowed two percentage points from 12.2 percent in 2017 to 10.5 percent in 2018 (a 14 percent decrease).
  • The graduation rate gap between Pell-eligible students and their peers narrowed one percentage point from 10.6 percent in 2017 to 9.5 percent in 2018 (a 10 percent decrease). 

In 2018, CSU students earned a total of 105,431 bachelor's degrees representing an all-time high. The equity gaps are smaller than the previous year while enrolling a greater percentage of underrepresented and Pell eligible students.

The CSU has prioritized student success, investing in additional faculty, advisors and course sections, and allocating resources to proven student and academic support programs. Last year, CSU campuses added 4,300 new course sections opening 90,000 additional seats for students.

Graduation Initiative 2025 is a university-wide initiative to ensure that all students have the opportunity to be successful and graduate according to their personal goals, positively impacting their future and producing additional graduates to power California and the nation.

# # #

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 50,800 faculty and staff and 484,000 students. Half of the CSU's students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 110,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3.4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.