NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — A state senator Monday proposed a legislation aimed at helping Cal State University students get their degrees in four years.

Former CSU Trustee and State Senator Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, authored the bill called California Promise. It was designed to reverse one of the nation’s poorest four-year graduation rates. As few as 5 percent of students entering colleges in the Los-Angeles area complete their degree in four years.

CSU Dominguez Hills……..5%
CSU Los Angeles…………..6%
CSU Northridge…………….10%
CSU San Bernardino………14%
CSU Long Beach…………..15%

According to Glazer, the CSU system has an 18.6 percent four-year graduation rate, well below the national average of 34 percent.

“It is a big disappointment that so few CSU students graduate within four years,” Glazer said. “This legislation, with financial incentives and program efficiencies, will allow CSU students to break through the logjam that has left too many students with graduation roadblocks and high debt.”

Chris Akmakian, 24, is a senior at Cal State Northridge with graduation in reach. But he said it took him eight years to get here. “I’ve had it where I can’t get the classes that I need, and that’s pushed me back a semester,” he said.

“What used to be the standard isn’t any more with the four-year degree. It’s more like 5, 6, 7 or even 8 in some cases,” Akmakian said. “It’s definitely hard finding a balance between working, going to school, maintaining my grades.”

According to the Campaign for College Opportunity, CSU students and their families pay up to $26,000 per year in tuition, books and living expenses for every extra year in college.

The legislation would benefit students who agree to take 15 units a semester and maintain a minimum grade-point average. They would receive financial incentives, academic advising, a tuition freeze and priority registration.

If the bill passes, the new incentives could be in place as early as fall of 2017.

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