The chancellor of the California State University system, Timothy P. White, gave the annual “State of the CSU” address at the board of trustees meeting earlier this week at California State University Long Beach.
One of the chancellor’s biggest areas of concern was for the graduation rate of students in the California State University system. To achieve a higher graduation rate White has committed $50 million to be used over the next 10 years in hopes that it will raise the rate by 10 percent for undergraduate and 5 percent for transfer students.
“And to those who ask about the cost of undertaking this project, I reply it is not a cost. It is an investment,” said White. “The cost to California will occur if we don’t do it. The liability to California will occur with more unemployment costs, more costs for social services and the criminal justice system, and state revenue foregone because of lower wages.”
The chancellor has decided to focus on seven key areas to help support his proposed project. Some of the key areas he has proposed to focus on are enhancing advising, increasing student preparation, and improving transfer completion rates.
White understands that advising is not only used to help students navigate their college experience, but advising also helps them create a path for their future as well. To enhance advising the chancellor is looking to increase staff, and set up online advising tools for students.
In regard to student preparation, the chancellor is determined to invest more funds into the incoming students. To support undeserved students he plans on expanding the Early Start program.
To improve transfer rates, White is planning to continue work on the $5 million joint budget proposal fund between the California State University system and the California Community Colleges. He would like to create a marketing campaign highlighting all of the benefits of the Associates Degree and the commitment that the California State University system has for transfer students.
“It is critical that the resources identified for each of these seven key areas is thoughtfully, carefully, and efficiently deployed,” said White. “We will benefit by proper consultation with faculty, staff and students, and use data to guide us in our decision-making and investments so that we can leverage and expand these academic programs and support services in a manner that best promotes student satisfaction, student success, and degree completion.”
The chancellor also understands that there are a large number of students from low-income families. There are over 400,000 students in the California State University system and nearly 145,000 of those students come from families in the 20 percent of the “income stratification” (the households have an income that is equal or less than $20,262).
“The African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American outreach initiatives that are unique to the CSU and the nation are profound,” said White. “They highlight our efforts to serve those communities in partnership with members of the faith-based communities, cultural organizations, civic groups, as well as local school districts and community colleges. These efforts speak to increasing the access, achievement, graduation and employment of these historically underserved populations.”
The chancellor has made his focus for this year very clear: student success. But this success cannot be done without the support of the citizens of California.
“Achieving our ambitious goals will require a solid and sustained commitment from the people of the CSU – and it will also require investment by our public and private partners across California,” said White. “But it will be done with our eyes on a collective goal: a strong, successful and prosperous future – for our students, our communities, our state, and our nation.”
To read Chancellor White’s speech in its entirety, visit http://www.calstate.edu/stateofcsu/address.shtml.