Student Services Initiative, $24.6 Million
State policy-makers have demonstrated a continuing interest in ensuring that the CSU has the
capacity to serve California, by not just taking students in, but by graduating them with baccalaureate
degrees reflecting a high level of accomplishment. Baseline statistics show that CSU students are
succeeding through to the baccalaureate degree at the same graduation rate and pace as their
counterparts at comparison regional comprehensive universities. But the Board of Trustees, campus
presidents, and the CSU system leadership want to set a new standard, to do better than national
norms. This goal serves the interests of California, the nation, and the students who use the university
as a “stepping stone” on the path to a better job and a better life.
Accordingly, in 2003 the CSU Board of Trustees adopted an aggressive three-part graduation
initiative to support improvements in authentic access to higher education and graduation rates.
The Trustees’ plan included the (1) Early Assessment Program, a highly successful outreach to
students still in high school; (2) requirements for campuses to develop Campus Actions to Facilitate
Graduation; and (3) a Lower Division Transfer Patterns program. A large segment of these programs
were to be spearheaded by the Student Services divisions on the 23 CSU campuses.
During the most recent recession in California, state budget cuts and unfunded mandatory cost
increases to the CSU cumulatively amounted to more than $500 million. These cuts were
accompanied by budget control language that instructed the CSU to absorb the cuts “away from
the classroom.” Therefore, during this period, the campus Student Services divisions experienced
support budget reductions as funds were redirected from Student Services to instructional programs.
This request of $24.6 million will allow Student Services divisions on all 23 campuses to restore and
expand the level of services necessary to ensure student success and accomplish the goals of the
Trustees’ Graduation Initiative.
There should be no doubt that this request is timely. The Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD) released a report on September 12, 2006, that compared the levels of
educational attainment in the United States and other nations. The report documented that the United
States still ranks first among 30 democracies in the level of educational attainment in its adult
population, but ranked no higher than seventh place in these comparisons for educational attainment
of 15- to 24 year-olds. This indicator is an ominous warning that the United States is losing the
educational advantage that has been the nation’s competitive edge in an increasingly knowledgebased
global economy. The only way to reverse this trend is to ensure that students receive the
support they need to earn baccalaureate and advanced degrees.
This request of $24.6 million has two parts: (1) $16 million for Student Services for Success, and
(2) $8.6 million for Student Services for Authentic Access.
The multifaceted Student Services for Success initiative includes $7.5 million to improve advising for
undergraduate degree majors; $1.5 million to strengthen programs for new student orientation programs
where students and advisors develop the student’s initial academic plan; $4.5 million for staffing of
learning centers, tutoring centers, and study skills help centers; and $2.5 million for additional
articulation staff to work collaboratively with their community college counterparts to ensure that
courses taken at a California Community College are consistent with subject matter requirements at
The Student Services for Authentic Access Initiative includes $2 million to ensure disabled persons
have access to information and learning offered via information technology including the Internet,
$1 million to ensure hearing-impaired persons have full university access by providing interpreting
and captioning services (services that both state and federal law require campuses to provide),
$4.2 million to provide Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) grants to an estimated additional 4,770
students (the number of students who demonstrated an unmet financial need and whose expected
family contribution was $800 or less but did not receive an EOP grant), $0.5 million to improve
communications about the Early Assessment Program, $0.5 million to further the CSU’s deployment
online of degree programs, and $0.4 million to involve CSU students in the CSU’s goal of increasing
the participation of historically underrepresented groups in college.