Graduation Initiative Timeline

The Graduation Initiative 2025 follows the success of the first Graduation Initiative, launched in 2009.


The CSU begins work on the Graduation Initiative (formerly “Closing the Achievement Gap”) a six-year initiative that asks campuses to increase their six-year graduation rates for incoming first-year students to the top quartile of the national average and halve the existing achievement gaps.

2012 Commencement -CSU Northridge

As part of the national Access to Success campaign, the CSU establishes a systemwide goal of raising its six-year graduation rate by eight percentage points from 46% to 54%, and cutting the achievement gap in half.

Early Start officially launched to provide students with an opportunity to become more fully prepared for college-level work in English and math.

2014 “Class of 3 Million”  pin - Humboldt State

The CSU had the largest entering first-year student class in fall 2014, with 54% entering college-ready in both English and math.

First year the Early Start program was required for all students needing additional college-level preparation in English and/or math. As a result, 59% of the Early Start summer 2014 cohort were college-ready in both English and math at fall entry.

2015 Commencement -  Cal State LA

In his State of the CSU address, Chancellor White announces an 11% increase in the six-year graduation rate for incoming first-year students, surpassing the Graduation Initiative goal of 8% for a total of 57% of students earning their degrees in six years.

The CSU also reached a record four-year graduation rate of 19% for the 2011 student cohort, resulting in approximately 5,500 more students graduating this year than otherwise would have.

The CSU received their first full budget request in over a decade to fund enrollment growth, faculty and staff hiring, and critical infrastructure needs.

2016 Commencement - Fresno State

Graduation Initiative 2025 goals are formally established to include target rates for both first-year students​ and transfer students at the four-year and six-year markers while simultaneously eliminating equity gaps.

2018 Mortarboard Tassel -Cal State San Marcos

Graduation rates are at all-time highs with 6,660 additional students graduating compared to the previous year. The CSU remains on track to reach Graduation Initiative 2025 goals.

The fall 2018 cohort marks the first entering class under the remedial education reforms set forth by Executive Order 1110. For students requiring additional academic support, the number of those passing a lower-division math course increased eightfold from 950 (fall 2017) to 7,952 (fall 2018). Approximately 5% of the fall 2017 cohort needing additional academic preparation passed a lower-division math course in their first term compared to 46% of the fall 2018 cohort.

2019 Commencement - CSU Channel Islands

For the first time in the last two years, equity gaps for Pell recipients and for students who identify as African-American, American-Indian or Latino began to close.

The CSU received a full budget request with an additional $75 million to further support campuses’ work to accomplish Graduation Initiative 2025 goals.