Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, (562) 951-4800, cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu

The California State University Reaches Out to African-American Leaders to Increase College-Going Rates

(March 24, 2005) – In an effort to boost enrollment of African-American students, the California State University system asked community leaders Thursday what the CSU can do to assist more students to attend one of its 23 campuses and make sure they graduate. The CSU wants to increase enrollment of undergraduate and graduate African-American students from the 22,500 currently enrolled.

The CSU’s mission is to provide access to quality higher education for California’s students. In 2002/03, the CSU granted more than half of all undergraduate degrees to California’s African American, Latino, and Native American students. Nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees were granted to African Americans.

“That number is not high enough,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. Reed spoke at the West Angeles Cathedral to nearly 100 African American leaders representing business, religious, political and community organizations.

“Last month, at a summit hosted by the National Governor’s Association, we learned that America’s educational system is losing most of its black males between 6th grade and 12th grade,” Reed said. “We look to you for suggestions on how we can improve that situation.”

Other speakers included Bishop Charles E. Blake, who hosted the event, CSU Trustee Herbert Carter, and CSU Foundation member Matthew Jenkins.

The CSU is reaching middle and high school students so that they are better prepared to enter and graduate from college, Carter said. The CSU delivers a “How to Get to College” poster that gives information to students from the 6th grade through the 12th grade about classes, financial aid, grades, tests and deadlines.”

“We send posters to hundreds of schools throughout the state,” Carter said. “And we need your help so that it hangs on every bedroom wall of every middle and high school student.”

The CSU wants to send the poster to any parent or teacher who wants it. Those interested should call the CSU Chancellor’s Office at (562) 951-4800 for copies.

Seven CSU presidents also participated in the event and responded to questions from the African American leaders. They were: CSU Dominguez Hills President James Lyons, Cal State L.A. President James Rosser, Cal State Fullerton President Milton Gordon, CSU Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell, CSU Channel Islands President Richard Rush, CSU San Bernardino President Albert Karnig and CSU Stanislaus President Marvalene Hughes. Radio and TV journalist Tony Cox, who also is a member of the faculty at Cal State L.A., moderated the panel.

The CSU is the most diverse higher education system in the country, with more than 53 percent students of color. In fall 2004, nearly 400,000 students were enrolled at CSU campuses.

The CSU also provides a bridge to other higher educational opportunities such as a forgivable loan program to promising doctoral students who intend to teach at the CSU.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 400,000 students and 42,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees, about 82,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. 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. See www.calstate.edu

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Last Updated: March 24, 2005

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