Years of focus on improving student graduation rates is paying off for Cal State Long Beach (CSULB).
A recent report in The Chronicle of Higher Education showed that over the latest five-year period, graduation rates at CSULB have increased by 13 percentage points, tying it for the third best improvement in the nation among public master’s institutions. In fact, only one public research institution had a higher increase than CSULB, meaning CSULB was tied for fourth best improvement of all public institutions in the nation regardless of category. The years studied were from 2003-08, and the CSULB rate increased from 42 percent to 55 percent.
“This is further evidence that our comprehensive efforts to graduate more students places us among the best in the nation. It also shows how committed our faculty and staff truly are to the ultimate goal of student completion,” said F. King Alexander, president of CSULB.
The rates are calculated as the percentage of first-time, full-time students who entered in the fall seeking bachelor’s degrees and completed those degrees within six years. The Chronicle compared rates for the six years ending in 2008, the most recent period for which comprehensive data are available, with the rates from five years earlier in 2003.
CSULB’s rank means that out of the 246 institutions in the master’s category, CSULB was in the top 2 percent in terms of improvement. Also impressive was the size of the improvement. Comparatively, nearly half (44 percent) of the master’s institutions increased by less than 5 percentage points whereas only about a quarter (27 percent) increased by 5 percentage points or more during the time period. Recent studies have also shown that CSULB is among the nation’s leaders in graduation rate improvement for underrepresented minority students.
CSULB graduation rates have been improving for more than a decade. From 1996 to 2009, its graduation rate nearly doubled to about 54 percent. Also, earlier this year CSULB was ranked sixth in the nation in conferring bachelor’s degrees to minority students by Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s annual list of the “Top 100 Degree Producers.”