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Possible bill to help CSU grad rates

Posted at 3:39 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 21:36:50-05

Each year more than 400,000 individuals enroll in classes at one of the 23 California State University campuses.

But the amount of those students graduating in four years has dropped once again to an abysmal 19%.

According to leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, under Senate Bill 1450 "This bill would establish the California Promise, which would require the trustees and the board of governors to establish a program that authorizes a campus of the California State University and the California Community Colleges to enter into a pledge with a student who satisfies specified criteria to support the student in obtaining an associate degree within 2 academic years, or a baccalaureate degree within 4 academic years, of freshman admission."

Along with signing this contract, the student is required to sign up for and take 15 academic units per semester and must pass every class with at least a "C".

As part of the contract, the students will get all necessary advising help, a set tuition rate for all four years and priority registration for classes.

When speaking to students like Senior Tatiana Melendez at Cal State Bakersfield, most said they would do some research first but would most likely sign the contract because of the perk of priority registration.

"Usually registration day will open like a Monday and my date is always like a Wednesday or Thursday. So by the time I'm able to register, I'm on a waitlist and I'm not able to get into those classes," said Melendez.

As the Assistant VP for Student Success at CSU Bakersfield, Vikash Lakhani, said that his position at the university was created for the purpose of finding initiatives like this.

Lakhani said he is still reading into the bill, but believes that this is something they are already trying to accomplish.

"It's very much in line with our campus and our goals to improve retention and graduation rates for our students," said Lakhani.

With California's graduation rate sitting 15% less than the nation average, a bill like this could improve the rates across the state. 

According to Senator Glazer, there are currently four programs at different state universities with with the similar desired outcome as "California Promise".

Glazer included that the students in the CSU San Bernardino program had a graduation rate two times higher than that of the students not in the program.