LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California State University’s chancellor announced a $50 million plan to increase graduation rates by hiring more advisers and tenure-track faculty and boosting the number of online courses.
Timothy P. White unveiled the ambitious agenda Wednesday in his first “state of the university” address to the Board of Trustees in Long Beach, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The project aims over the next decade to increase graduation rates by 10 percent for undergraduates and 5 percent for those who transfer from community colleges as well as to improve the overall learning environment for students, White said.
“Our top priority must be to firm up our fiscal and policy commitments to access, persistence to degree and degree completion — to improve the educational experience and degree attainment for all students and to enable students to earn a high quality degree in a shorter amount of time,” he said.
Funding for the proposals would come from state funds, as well as philanthropic and corporate interests, White told the Times in an interview after his address.
White, who took over as chancellor of the 23-campus system in December 2012, said that some money for the new initiative might need to be redirected from other programs, but he would consult with faculty and college leaders. Tuition was expected to remain flat, with the possible exception of certain fees, he said.
Among the key steps outlined in the agenda is the hiring of more tenure-track faculty, appointing more advisers and developing more online courses in high-demand subjects that would be open to students from all campuses. White also wants to increase programs such as internships, study abroad and service learning.
These moves are crucial, he said, because the state will need to produce an additional 1 million college graduates by 2025 to meet workforce needs.
Gov. Jerry Brown, who attended the meeting, said he was impressed by White’s plan.
“It lays out the challenges, but also recognizes the fantastic contributions the state colleges make to California,” Brown said.
Cal State is the largest system of higher education in the nation, serving 440,000 students. The system received more than 760,000 undergraduate applications for fall 2014, the Times said.