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CSUF Joins Statewide Effort to Help Students Graduate

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Cal State Fullerton was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the California State University system as part of the statewide system’s effort to increase the number of freshmen graduating in four years, and transfer students graduating in two years.  

Each campus in the system has been awarded funding and are working on long- and short-term plans to achieve the goals set out for their institutions.  

“Graduation Initiative 2025 sets ambitious targets for improving graduation rates and narrowing achievement gaps, in order to address workforce needs for the state and ensure equitable access and opportunities for our diverse student body,” explained Anil Puri, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Cal State Fullerton’s strategic plan, instituted in 2012, pushed for increasing the number of students graduating from the University. Since then, the campus has seen the percentage of freshmen graduating within six years increase to 62 percent — exceeding the target to be achieved by 2018 — as well as increasing the number of transfer students graduating in four years to 75 percent. In addition, Cal State Fullerton has halved the achievement gap for underrepresented freshmen students and eliminated the gap for underrepresented transfer students.

CSUF’s goal for Graduation 2025 is:

  • 75 percent — freshman six-year graduation
  • 44 percent — freshman four-year and transfer two-year graduations
  • 85 percent — transfer four-year graduation   

Puri, along with Berenecea Johnson Eanes, vice president for student affairs, announced the effort in a Feb. 10 campuswide memo.  The two administrators stressed a commitment to increasing these rates without lowering “our standards or the rigors of our curriculum.”

Included in the CSUF effort, Puri and Eanes announced plans for “focused intentional advising, identifying students who could benefit from ‘Completion Grants’ to fund intersession or summer school and additional support for students.”  

Other short-term plans for the University are to:

  • increase the number of class offerings during the summer
  • hire and train graduate students to help raise more expedient graduation awareness among targeted students
  • increase the number of student assistants working on campus, as data (collected at the University over a four-year period) indicates those who work on campus graduate sooner than those who don’t.

In addition to the short-term plans already outlined, the University is seeking ideas for a long-term plan to help students succeed and graduate. To contribute ideas, faculty and staff members are encourage to use the Feedback on Student Success questionnaire online. Task force members will be reviewing and working on these ideas.  

Already in the works:

  • increasing support through the University’s Student Success Teams and implementation of a Student Success Dashboard to better study student progress data
  • use of an enrollment management dashboard to manage capacity needs, additional sections and bottlenecks
  • launch a digital awareness campaign for CSUF’s Finish in Four program to encourage more students to enroll in summer and intersession courses as well as increase the number of courses they attend in order to complete their degree in four years.

“In embracing the ambitious goals of this initiative, Cal State Fullerton affirms our commitment not only to the measurable outcome of degree attainment, but also to the immeasurable impact of ‘personal and societal transformation’ that those degrees embody,” added Puri.

To learn more about the CSU’s plans, go to Graduation 2025.