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San Diego State’s Graduation Rate Hits All-Time High

The school has also narrowed its achievement gap

Photo caption:

Photo by Megan Wood / inewsource

Students walk to class along Campanile Walkway at San Diego State University, Sept. 2, 2016.

The graduation rate at San Diego State University in 2016 increased to 74 percent, and school administrators are crediting targeted programs to get students more involved on campus.

The graduation rate at San Diego State University is now the highest it's ever been at 74 percent, and school administrators are crediting targeted programs to get students more involved on campus.

The rate is for freshmen who started in 2010 and graduated in six years or less, which is the standard bar for universities nationwide. It's up from 69 percent for the previous class.

Six-Year Graduation Rates (Most Recent Available)

UC San Diego: 87 percent

University of San Diego: 78 percent

San Diego State University: 74 percent

CSU San Marcos: 51 percent

The increase is part of a concerted effort to raise graduation rates across the California State University system. When the initiative launched, about half of all CSU students were graduating within six years.

A new systemwide effort launching this fall aims to boost the four-year graduation rate from about 20 percent to 40 percent.

Christy Samarkos, the associate vice president for student affairs at SDSU, said San Diego's campus has found success with programs aimed at keeping students invested in their college careers.

Those include Residential Learning Communities, which create smaller cohorts of students who study together and support each other, Samarkos said.

Students will be less likely to drop out "if we can get students engaged in staying on campus and interacting with one another both academically and socially," she said.

The school also pairs students with mentors and has created special cohorts for students who live off campus and might feel disengaged.

Sandra Cook, the associate vice president of academic affairs enrollment, said those programs have also helped SDSU close its achievement gap. The graduation rate for students of color is 69 percent.

Closing that achievement gap has been a specific focus at SDSU, Samarkos said.

"We want SDSU to be a place where all students feel that sense of belonging, because when students feel accepted and welcomed, they have the capacity to grow academically and personally," she said.

At UC San Diego, the six-year graduation rate for 2009 freshmen was 87 percent. A school spokeswoman said data for 2010 freshmen is not yet available.

University of San Diego's six-year graduation rate for 2010 freshmen is 78 percent, down slightly from 79 percent the year before.

The most recent data for CSU San Marcos shows a six-year graduation rate of 51 percent. The gap between graduation rates for white students at the school and students of color is 2 percent.

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Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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