In his annual State of the CSU address, Chancellor Timothy White announced a Graduation Initiative 2025 intended to increase the amount of bachelor degrees earned in the CSU system. This initiative was created in order to meet the state’s future workforce demand. This initiative aims to increase the six-year graduation rate from 46 percent to 60 percent and increase the amount of bachelor’s degrees earned by 100,000 in the next decade.
At the rate the current system is going, the state university system will not be able to keep up with California’s workforce, which is the seventh largest economy in the world and that is why this initiative is in place.
White assured listeners the university system is fulfilling the current goals put forth by Gov. Jerry Brown.
“The California State University is meeting the imperative, put forward by Gov. Brown, in his recent state of the state,” said White. “To achieve affordable and timely completion with excellence.”
Although White is confident state universities are up to par, some students disagree with him.
“School is super expensive, and the gap between UC and CSU is getting smaller,” said Morgan Wildeman, a finance student. “It’s crazy how much a CSU is to a UC, considering how much more you get out of a UC.”
The California State University system is vital to California’s economy, providing one in 10 jobs in California to a degree holder, and making up 5 percent of the total degrees earned in the U.S. White acknowledges that this achievement would not have been possible without the support of donors, who invest in the students future, because the state university system provides graduates to some of California’s most iconic companies.
“The 23 campuses of the CSU combined is California’s no. 1 supplier teachers, engineers, accountants, health care and hospitality professionals, agriculture scientists, business leaders, filmmakers, journalists, social workers,” said White, “and the list goes on and on.”`
Many of these donors see the university system as an investment, considering many graduates will enter some of the most important positions in California’s workforce. Ensuring a quality education will help provide skilled workers for the state’s growing workforce.
White also said the success of the students would not have been possible without the public investment from the state of California, and the state must remain a reliable partner to ensure the prosperity of the university system.
Students graduate with their bachelor’s degree in fewer than five years on average and with Graduation Initiative 2025 the goal is to move that number closer to four years. Although students believe the problem is many students don’t see the rate at which they graduate as priority, rather some believe there needs to be focus on the opportunities the system provides.
“There needs to be more internship programs, because degrees aren’t enough,” said Nima Iravani, a pre-medicine and biology major. “ Employers are looking for experienced workers, and I would like to see more opportunities for work experience on campus.”
Although the Graduation Initiative 2025 aims to improve the rate of graduates, there was no mention in White’s address of how the initiative plans to improve the quality of the state’s university system. White said achieving these graduation goals will be a measure of the system’s shared success and this success will only come through shared commitment.
Many students are unsure about their future in the state university system, while some are unsure if they will graduate on time and others are worried that they are not acquiring all of the experience they need to enter the workforce.
White assured students that the California State University system is improving graduation rates, while constantly creating new paths to success.
Although some students worry about potential increases in tuition, or whether they are receiving the experience they need to enter their desired line of work, White said that the California State University System is thriving and the future is bright for all students.