Ensuring affordable access to higher education for all Californians is critical to the state’s future, especially during times of economic distress. A cornerstone of the CSU’s mission is educating all Californians, regardless of background. More than ever, the campuses reflect California’s changing population, offering curricula and programs that recognize the state’s diverse students. The CSU’s efforts in this arena are indicative of its core belief that education can dramatically change lives by opening new careers, unconsidered perspectives, novel avenues of discovery, and critical life skills.
Nearly half of all degrees granted in 2006-07 in California to people of color were earned at the CSU. As of 2006-07, 56 percent of all bachelor’s degrees granted to Latinos in California were CSU degrees. The numbers for other ethnic groups in the state were similar. These traditionally underserved students compose 65 percent of California’s public school population yet often are in school districts where college preparatory courses are not required and pre-college advising is unavailable. It is incumbent upon the CSU to help prepare these students for college and graduate them into the state’s workforce. During the past 10 years, the CSU has taken significant steps to prepare these emerging populations for college and has formed partnerships and created innovative programs for African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American families.
A sampling of the CSU’s initiatives includes:
As a result of these efforts, minority enrollment at the CSU has improved for several groups.
|Ethnicity||Fall 2008||Fall 2002|
CSU campuses reflect their communities and provide access to underserved populations more than ever before. Campuses across the CSU system have made accomplishments in opening their doors to students of color:
The CSU also works to offer higher education to students with physical and mental disabilities. More than 10,000 disabled students are currently enrolled at CSU campuses. More than 95 percent of disabled students who enroll at the CSU graduate. Many of these students take advantage of campus services designed to help students pursue a college education, including campus-provided screen reader software, Braille embossers, note-takers, sign language interpreters, and infrastructure for the disabled.
CSU campuses also provide a wide range of services that ensure the admission, retention, and graduation of foster youth. Foster youth are provided direct contact with staff members, ongoing academic monitoring and intervention, opportunities to build relationships in a community setting, and connections to campus clubs and organizations. Offered in collaboration with student support offices and community services, these programs have proven successful.
The CSU is actively engaged in helping veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their dependents get an affordable education. The CSU offers numerous benefits to service personnel such as waiving of non-resident fees and the ability to use Department of Defense tuition assistance waivers at all campuses. Each CSU campus also has a veteran service representative to help military personnel take advantage of the university’s opportunities.
One of the most successful ways to promote access is by providing students opportunities to enter the CSU through multiple avenues. While about 18 percent of public high school students matriculate after graduating high school, other students transfer into the CSU most often out of California’s community colleges. Last year, about 42 percent of students entering the CSU were students who originally began their academic careers in community colleges, and 55 percent of last year’s CSU graduates have also earned an associate’s degree at a California community college.
The CSU is dedicated to offering programs that allow students to engage in lifelong learning. Approximately 20 percent of the CSU’s population is over the age of 30, and one-quarter of students are part-time. In addition, some campuses, such as CSU Fullerton, offer programs that waive fees in space-available courses for senior citizens.
Because life for many students has demands beyond the classroom, the CSU has many offices, services, and programs designed to help students take full advantage of their educational experience. These include:
Online and distance learning gives many students the flexibility they need to engage with the CSU, earning certificates and degrees in a variety of subjects at their own pace.
Equally as important as early preparation and providing support services is ensuring that students persist to a degree once they reach the university. The CSU has launched a Graduation Initiative aimed at increasing six-year graduation rates by 8 percent by 2016, as well as cutting in half the existing gap in degree attainment by the CSU’s underrepresented students. This effort is boosted by the CSU’s recent adoption of an “Early Start” policy that focuses on improving student achievement in English and mathematics so students are prepared for college-level coursework and can make faster progress toward their degree.
As one of the most affordable public education systems in the nation, the CSU has long recognized that it is imperative to offer education to all Californians regardless of their financial means. By offering flexibility through financial aid, students who a generation ago would not have conceived of a college education for themselves, are now CSU graduates.
With the country in the midst of an economic downturn, providing affordable education has become more challenging—but also more critical than ever. State funding cuts have forced the CSU to find new ways to maintain quality, including raising student fees, cutting enrollment, freezing salaries, and tightening budgets.
Additionally, the CSU's in-state fees remain the second lowest among comparable institutions nationally, as indicated in the following chart. This aid, which includes loans, work study, and nearly $1 billion in grants, helps improve educational access for Californians. Additionally, the CSU’s in-state fees remain the second lowest among comparable institutions nationally.
|University of Nevada at Reno||$4,711||$145|
|California State University||$3,849||$1,044|
|North Carolina State University||$5,274||$200|
|University of Colorado at Denver||$6,348||$194|
|State University of New York at Albany||$6,087||$611|
|Arizona State University at Tempe||$5,664||$1,182|
|Georgia State University at Atlanta||$6,056||$1,242|
|Cleveland State University||$7,920||$0|
|George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)||$7,512||$512|
|University of Texas at Arlington||$7,780||$406|
|University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee||$7,905||$617|
|University of Maryland, Baltimore County||$8,780||$92|
|Wayne State University (Detroit, MI)||$8,751||$521|
|University of Connecticut (Storrs)||$9,338||$548|
|Illinois State University (Normal, IL)||$9,814||$717|
|Rutgers University (Newark, NJ)||$10,800||$1,086|