LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – The California State University system, headquartered in Long Beach, has announced that their graduation numbers have reached an all-time high, despite the challenges that came with the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 and early 2021.

Twenty-three different universities make up the CSU system, ranging from San Diego to as far north as Humboldt.

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132,167 degrees were awarded for the 2020-21 school year, a massive jump – almost 25,000 – over numbers pulled from 2015, when the CSU system began working on increasing graduation rates at their universities. According to the report, the overall four-year graduation rate increased to 33%, up from 19%, since the graduation initiative began in 2015. The six- year graduation rate grew from 57% to 63%.

Despite these rising numbers, CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro addressed a need to close “equity gaps,” or graduation rates that continue to lag among “historically underserved” groups.

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“This has always been a top priority, and indeed we have a moral imperative to do better for our students,” Castro said. A system-wide plan has been implemented to help close those gaps.

The plan includes many steps, such as:

  • a re-enrollment campaign aimed at bringing underserved students back to CSU campuses this spring;
  • initiating “digital degree planners” to ensure students have a clear understanding of their “pathway to graduation”; and
  • a targeted focus to improve student achievement in courses that have the highest numbers of failing grades and largest enrollment of underserved students.

Additionally, Castro has asked each individual university to develop their own more-customized plans to attack this problem head-on.

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