California State University Chancellor Timothy White discussed the need to produce more graduates to support the state’s economy in his State of the CSU address Wednesday.
An additional $50 million will be invested in seven key areas to try to make that a possibility, he announced. Those areas include the hiring of more tenure-track faculty, changes to the advising system and increases in both the availability of online classes and extracurricular learning opportunities.
“Our state needs one million more graduates by 2025 to enable the health of our economy,” said White.
Through these programs, White set a goal of increasing the graduation rates for undergraduates by 10 percent and 5 percent for transfer students.
He also addressed the need to repair the CSU system’s aging infrastructure, 48 percent of which is 40 years old or older.
“The recession didn’t start this, but it did accelerate the deterioration of our infrastructure,” White said.
“Indeed, the CSU’s deferred maintenance and capital-renewal backlog approaches $2 billion, which includes almost $500 million in priority-deferred maintenance.”
Fresno State was awarded $30 million in October to repair its aging and faulty electrical infrastructure.
White concluded by reiterating the importance the CSU system has in California.
“Going forward, we must both lead and adapt to societal change,” he said. “We need to respond to our state’s need for more graduates with a strategic redesign and revitalization of our mission and goals.”
Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, echoed that remark.
“California faces a shortage of one million college graduates by 2025 that threatens our economic well-being and quality of life,” Baldassare said. “As the largest public higher education system, California State University has a critical role in closing the college skills gap and providing a better future for all Californians.”
The PPIC projects that 41 percent of jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree, but if current trends continue, only 35 percent of Californians will have one by 2025.
Also, only half of CSU students will graduate with a degree within six years, according to the institute.