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CSUSM Challenges Higher Education Stereotypes

Cal State San Marcos President Karen Haynes greets audience members after her...

Photo by Faith Hark / CSUSM

Above: Cal State San Marcos President Karen Haynes greets audience members after her 2017 "Address to the Community," Feb. 2, 2017.

Karen Haynes, president of California State University San Marcos, said the 15,000 students now enrolled at the college defy stereotypes of students in higher education.

In her annual address to the community Thursday morning, Haynes said more than half of those who graduated last year are first generation college students: the first in their families to go to college. One in three fall outside the traditional college-age range of 18 to 22. The majority balance academic studies with family commitments and full- or part-time jobs.

Haynes said the demand for qualified graduates is rising in California, as state funding for higher education is falling. She said there’s a predicted shortfall of more than 1 million college graduates by the year 2030.

Cal State San Marcos scores well in college rankings that rate job readiness. The college placed ahead of Harvard, UC Berkeley and Stanford in the Educate to Career index, which rates colleges by economic value added for their graduates.

Haynes said higher education does more than train for careers: it has a particularly important role in these times.

“In this time of cynicism and fear, public education becomes more important," she said, "as not only an engine of economic growth, but as a catalyst for spurring individuals to innovation and optimism, empathy and understanding.”

Haynes said 35 percent of last year's graduating class came from historically underrepresented backgrounds and 80 percent of CSUSM students remain in the region after graduating, making the college a key part of North County’s economic and cultural growth.

Haynes has served as CSUSM’s president for 12 years. She is now the longest serving president in the CSU system, the first woman to be the California State University system’s senior president.

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