CSU Graduates Record Number of Students in 2003-04

Contact: Colleen Bentley-Adler, (562) 951-4800, cbentley-adler@calstate.edu

View the CSU 2003-04 degrees granted charts »

(Nov. 10, 2004) -- The California State University has graduated more students in the 2003-04 academic year than ever before, solid evidence that its efforts to help students move quickly to graduation are beginning to take effect. The significant growth in graduating students is strikingly evident in both bachelor and master’s degree categories.

The record number of 2003-04 bachelor’s degrees -- 65,743 -- represents an increase of more than 4,000 students from the 61,712 who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2002-03. The record number of 2003/04 master’s degrees --16,860 -- represents an increase of 1,870 degrees over the 14,990 awarded in 2002-03.

Joint doctorates, which CSU campuses offer in tandem with the University of California and private universities, also increased from 53 to 69 in 2003/04.

Overall, the number of bachelor and master’s degrees granted by the CSU’s 23 campuses rose by nearly 8 percent to 82,672, the largest increase in three decades. In 2002/03, the total number of degrees granted was 76,755.

This notable rise in total degrees granted also reflects an increase of some 1,860 degrees by identified ethnic minority students as well as an increase of more than 3,700 degrees by women. In fact, all ethnic groups improved their degree-earning numbers from 2002-03. For example, African Americans increased their numbers by 254, Mexican Americans and other Latino groups increased by 640, Filipinos by 220, and Asian Americans by 692.

“The impact of the California State University on the state is enormous, both economically and socially, and nowhere is that more evident than in the number of graduates we produce who go on to work in the state’s critical industries,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “College graduates earn $1 million more over their lifetimes than those with a high school degree, so CSU is adding value to both the individual student and the state’s economy.”

In 2003, the CSU Board of Trustees launched its Graduation Initiative with the three-pronged goal of increasing the preparation of high school students entering the CSU, improving the process of transferring from a community college to a CSU campus, and helping students already at a CSU campus graduate by providing a straightforward path to graduation.

Currently enrolled students may be progressing faster than the 2003/04 degree holders because they appear to be taking 12 units per term, whereas their predecessors were below that mark. Future analysis will provide the CSU with more information about the upswing in units per student. Typically, a student receives three units per class at a semester campus, so the average current student is taking about four classes per semester.

“The Board of Trustees is committed to providing access, but also to providing the tools to help students graduate in a timely manner so they can enter the workforce and begin their careers,” said David S. Spence, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “By helping current students more quickly reach their academic goal of graduation, the California State University is providing access to more students in the high school and community college pipelines.”

The California State University currently produces a third of California’s master’s degrees and nearly half of its bachelor’s degrees annually. For further historical information on degrees granted by the CSU, please go to www.calstate.edu/as/stat_reports/cy_degrees.shtml.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 400,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees, about 82,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.

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Last Updated: November 9, 2004

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