CSU Bakersfield

Brief Summary of Plan to Improve Retention and Graduation Rates: 2010-2015

Background: CSUB, an Hispanic Serving Institution (HIS), serves a region characterized by rapid growth and demographic diversity, as well as chronically higher unemployment rates and lower educational attainment compared to other California regions. High school graduates continue to have the lowest CSU eligibility rate (23%) in California. Nevertheless, the student population has grown over 9% over the past five years. Furthermore, during the same period the undergraduate student population has shifted from being predominantly “junior transfers” to one that is increasingly composed of students who matriculate as first time freshmen. The 2009 first time freshman cohort reached 1000 students, a doubling over the past five years, and nearly 98% enroll as full time students. Some salient characteristics of CSUB students include:

  • High financial need: approximately 75 to 80 % of the students receive some form of financial aid each year
  • Wide variation in preparation for college:
    • The average high school GPA of is about 3.0 (Fall 2008 first time freshmen).
    • Most first time freshmen require remediation in English (67%) and Mathematics (52%; Fall 2008).
  • First generation college students: 77% of first time freshmen are from families in which neither parent earned a bachelor’s degree; nearly half have parents who never attended college.
  • High employment rates: about 46% of entering freshmen and 75% of seniors work during the academic year. CSUB students also work more hours per week than students at other CSU campuses (NSSE 2008).

II. Goals (URM and non-URM graduation rates), Fall 2009 student cohorts:

  • Improve the retention of First Time Freshmen
  • Increase the 6-year graduation rates of First Time Freshmen to 46.9%
  • Reduce the gap between underrepresented minority students and their peers by half
  • Increase the graduation rates of upper division transfer students to 69.3%
  • Reduce the gap between underrepresented minority upper division transfer students and their peers by half
  • Implement strategies that will increase graduation rates and simultaneously enhance student learning in alignment with the university’s mission, vision, goals, and student learning outcomes.

III. Highlights of proposed actions to improve graduation rates

  • Review and align University-Wide Requirements: align UWRs with University Student Learning Oucomes (ULOs), evaluate required course patterns, review major and minor unit requirements
  • Institutional and Academic Practices: monitor student academic standing and provide early intervention to struggling students, streamline processes (grad checks, course transfers), strengthen advising, including use of technology, expand First Year Experience program
  • Academic and Social Support Policies, Programs and Practices: expand summer pre-collegiate programs, encourage student involvement in co-curricular programs and services, focus on ‘assessment for improvement’ of SLOs in academic and support programs
  • Assessment Strategies and Data Systems: improve institutional data collection practices, create measures to represent complex processes and outcomes, design analytic systems for tracking and predicting student success

IV: Metrics for measuring progress:

  • Unit loads, DWFI grades in required courses, retention (quarter to quarter)/persistence , GPA, student standing, completion of remediation prior to matriculation, participation in advising, students’ progress toward meeting UWRs, students’ progress toward meeting major requirements, achievement of student learning outcomes, participation in academic support programs, participation in co-curricular activities

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