2016/17 Executive Summary

CSU and California: An Integral Partnership Today and for Tomorrow

Students in classroom.As the largest public university system in the state, the CSU has a significant role in shaping California’s future. Since its inception, the CSU has strived to provide a high-quality, affordable education that enables our graduates to develop intellectually, personally, and professionally, and to contribute to California’s communities, culture, and economy. Just recently, the CSU graduated its three-millionth alumnus and conferred another 105,693 undergraduate and graduate degrees—a record number. It is our hope and expectation that each CSU graduate continues the proud tradition and legacy of supplying California’s workforce with knowledge, innovation, and creativity, so that the California economy continues to prosper.

Nearly one in every ten employees in the state is a CSU graduate. The CSU educates the majority of California’s leaders and policymakers. The CSU trains the majority of California’s teachers. CSU graduates power Silicon Valley, where San Jose State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and San Francisco State rank among the top feeder schools to major technology companies. From Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south, each campus plays a unique and vital role in driving California’s economic growth. Industries including agriculture, business, entertainment, hospitality and tourism, information technology, life sciences, manufacturing, and transportation all benefit greatly from the CSU. Our campuses and academic programs rank among the top colleges in the region and across the nation.

As the CSU continues to educate and graduate a record number of students, we are continuously searching for ways to streamline operations and reduce costs, so these savings can be reinvested for student success. The CSU has saved over $51 million in the past year through strategic debt refinancing. Collaborations with K-12 schools, the California Community Colleges, and the University of California have produced $37 million in cost avoidance since fiscal year 2011/12 for wide area connectivity in the CSU Common Network Initiative. The CSU continues to work with these entities to find ways to leverage our size and talents for cost savings. In addition, CSU energy efficiency projects have avoided $16 million in annual costs. Renegotiating electricity purchase contracts avoided $18 million in costs since 2010 and will save $30 million over the next five years. There are numerous other instances where the CSU has streamlined operations and reduced costs, whether through contract renegotiation, economies of scale, shared services, or high-efficiency energy projects. However, as Chancellor White has noted, we cannot “efficiency” our way to academic success.

To ensure more students graduate on-time and prepared to engage the world, the CSU invests heavily in faculty and staff, academic programs, and student success initiatives. We constantly remind ourselves that the focus of the CSU is to serve students, so that each and every student receives a high-quality education, graduates on-time with minimal student loan debt, and is ready to shape California’s social and economic future.

To that end, the CSU Graduation Initiative was launched in 2009 to focus on student success, in addition to the historical CSU priorities of access, quality, and affordability. In 2014, Chancellor White expanded the initiative by committing the system to raising both the four- and six-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen and two- and four-year rates for transfer students. The CSU set 2025 as the date for achieving systemwide and individual campus target graduation rates. The CSU continues to utilize funds to strengthen campus capacity to gather, analyze, and use real-time student success data in support of local decision-making, and to support high-impact educational practices that deepen learning, improve graduation rates, and close achievement gaps. While this strategic investment of limited resources has started to show positive returns, this long-term effort requires sustained and robust investment in higher education by the state.

As the CSU looks to the future, there are challenges that remain and opportunities to pursue. With the state’s continued investment in higher education, the CSU will be in a better position to carry out our mission. Together, the CSU and California can continue to do great things and provide a better state for future generations.