CSULB continues to make steady progress on its graduation goals for 2025. The four-year graduation rate for freshmen is projected to be 32% and the six-year rate is projected to be 73%. Both of these rates are new historic highs for the campus and remarkable progress compared to two years ago. The two-year graduation rate for transfers is projected to be 42% and the four-year rate is projected to be 86%. These are modest gains compared to previous years. Among all of these gains, the freshman opportunity gap for PELL and URM is projected to be below 3% and 6%, respectively. The transfer gap is projected to be below 3% for both categories. This is a historic low, and it is a testament to the holistic strategies our teams have been undertaking to ensure all students make progress.
Note: 2019 rates are projections based on current trends. The final rates will be confirmed in October 2019.
Our GI 2025 success is bolstered by strong collaboration between the Divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, and the respective academic colleges. The institution-wide Highly Valued Degree Initiative Steering Committee (HVDI) coordinates the implementation of the key student success strategies. Its four taskforces are Re-Imagining the First Year of College, Research and Evaluation, Communications, and Student Engagement. The Steering Committee is also involved in the development and implementation of a comprehensive, institutionalized research infrastructure that integrates qualitative and quantitative data to inform practices and support student success.
This research infrastructure is coordinated through the Data Fellows program. This program is becoming a critical university community that comes together to explore and study student success metrics in ways that have not been possible in the past. More groups, such as Academic Senate, Graduate Studies, Center for International Education, etc., are eager to participate and explore their own success trends. Faculty members are also exploring new research and scholarship opportunities through their engagement in the Data Fellows projects. Several colleges have created new staff positions dedicated to data analytics to support student success. Some college teams have also taken on meaningful long-range plans to study and track progress in their student success initiatives.
To support the Data Fellows initiatives, the Office of Institutional Research and Analytics has restructured significantly to cater to the increase in volume of new data requests and to provide greater control over existing datasets. This change in culture within IR&A is equally important and critical to support the shift toward customizable data to meet the wide variety of needs of individual research teams. However, developing an infrastructure and expert team within IR&A to manage this need is a challenge.
The overarching goal of Data Fellows is to foster a culture of data-informed decision-making. This is an unchartered road with new opportunities and challenges. It is no longer enough for an institution to rely solely upon data specialists working in silos. An understanding of the value of data to all institutional endeavors, particularly as related to student success, must be perceived. It is not sufficient simply to focus on exposing, collecting, storing, and sharing raw data. It is what we do with it and when we act on it that counts. Hence, charting a bold course for this future is critical.
CSULB is reevaluating and reassessing the future structures needed to make further progress in the years ahead with a holistic approach to student success. In this context, the HVDI Steering Committee and the Data Fellows structures will be reconsidered to position the institution for further gains as we plan for BEACH 2030.
All academic programs remain impacted at freshman and transfer levels. With over 106,000 undergraduate applications for 2019, CSULB continues to use local admissions area boundaries that consist of school districts within immediate proximity of the university. Preference for admission is given to freshmen and transfers from the local area high schools in almost all majors. About 6,000 freshman applicants who meet the CSU admission criteria are local. CSULB continues to provide admission to ALL qualified local applicants as part of the Long Beach Promise commitment.
In 2019-20, CSULB will enroll 12,100 students, which is the highest in CSULB history. This includes 5,400 freshman and 6,700 transfer students over the fall and spring semesters. This is a 30% increase compared to 2017-18. This increase in access is a direct result of Graduation Initiative 2025. There are more students graduating in 4, 4.5, 5, and 5.5 years than any time in the history.
Even though we are admitting a record number of students in 2019, the total campus headcount will remain close to 38,000 in the fall, with FTES rising to 32,600, which includes 1,900 FTES generated by online courses.
We are continuing efforts to increase spring enrollment to narrow the difference between fall and spring. The goal is to balance fall and spring FTES and thus provide better budget stability for instruction, while ensuring greater access to transfer students. With larger incoming classes in fall, there is a great potential to have wider differences between fall and spring enrollments, which could induce significant imbalance to faculty workloads. To counter this effect, we plan to admit larger transfer classes in spring. Since the spring applicant pool is small, we will continue special enrollment offers to waitlisted transfer students in the fall, for the spring admission cycle. This strategy worked well during our pilot phase last spring. Hence, we will continue this strategy this year.