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CSU Taking Affirmative Steps to Improve College Attendance
and Graduation Rates

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(April 17, 2009) – The California State University has taken decisive steps to address the serious shortfall in California’s supply of college-educated workers identified by the report Closing the Gap: Meeting California’s Need for College Graduates, released today by the Public Policy Institute of California.

“The report points to the need to find ways to invest in education that feed workforce development,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “CSU has taken affirmative steps to improve the number of students attending and graduating from college. The state must also do its part by investing in higher education to ensure we can prepare the workforce that will make this state prosper in the future.”

To close achievement gaps at every level of the educational pipeline, the CSU has established programs addressing community college transfer readiness, baccalaureate degree completion at CSU campuses, and college-going rates among high school graduates.

CSU has developed the Lower Division Transfer Pattern, a valuable tool that provides specific academic plans for community college students who know what major they want  to pursue at a CSU campus.  LDTP also provides general options for those who are uncertain about which CSU campus they will attend. One of the main features of the LDTP  is for students to earn at least sixty credits, the number needed to transfer to a CSU campus as an upper-division student.

Students transferring from community colleges have the highest admission priority in the CSU. Over the last 15 years community college transfers to the CSU have increased by 34 percent to 54,971 annually. Fall 2009 transfer applications to CSU campuses are up 13.7 percent, from fall 2008.

Degree completion rates at CSU campuses have been improved through roadmaps for each academic major that identifies the order in which courses should be taken, and the number of units or courses required for graduation. The roadmaps are available on campus websites and are among the most visited university web pages.

To achieve larger numbers of bachelor’s degrees, the CSU has also set higher expectations for student success. This includes better data and intervention on the reasons for student failure; additional academic advising, outreach to students in academic difficulty, and more focus on student financial aid to help students cut back on work and complete their degree.

These programs are part of the Access to Excellence plan, adopted by the Board of Trustees in May 2008 that commits the CSU to cutting in half existing achievement gaps within a ten-year period.

In addition, to improve college-going rates among high school graduates the CSU has developed several academic and community information programs.

In collaboration with public high schools, the CSU has established the Early Assessment Program to improve student proficiency in English and mathematics.  Public high school juniors volunteer to take the EAP test to find out if they are on track for college level work without the need for remedial classes. The purpose of the EAP is to give students an opportunity to make better use of their senior year in high school if results from the test show they are not prepared for college level work.

The CSU also distributes a college poster that provides the steps students need to take as early as the 6th grade to ensure they are prepared to go to college. The poster also provides advice for parents and it is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean.

A partnership with the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) was established to bring the PIQE program to public schools near CSU’s 23 campuses. This nine-week program is a model for increasing parent involvement as they learn how to improve their child’s performance in the classroom and identify steps to help them attend a college or university.

Super Sunday, a program started by the CSU in 2005, informs African American students and their families about what it takes to get into college. During February, CSU leaders speak at dozens of churches across the state to share with students, parents and community mentors information about preparing for college.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.