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San Diego State University Graduation Rates Get Praise

San Diego State University Graduation Rates Get Praise
San Diego State has been singled out for its success in improving graduation rates.

University leaders from across the country were at the White House on Thursday to launch an effort to increase college access and success for disadvantaged students.

Taking part in the forum were California State University Chancellor Timothy White, California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris and UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla took part in that forum. San Diego State University was highlighted in a report for its success in improving student outcomes and narrowing the gap between Latino and black students and their white classmates.

The report from The Education Trust looked at eight universities' successes in increasing graduation rates and other student outcomes. It lauded SDSU for nearly doubling the six-year graduation rate for Latinos between 2002 and 2011. Today, nearly 60 percent of Latino full-time undergrads graduate from the school within six years. That rate is 64 percent for African-American students, up from just under 29 percent in 2002.


Graduation rates for both groups still lag those of their white counterparts, 69 percent of whom graduate within six years.

SDSU Dean of Undergraduate Studies Geoffrey Chase attributed the gains to a focus on student data that he said permeates decision making on the campus. Among questions asked:

“What about these Latino students who are not living in the residence halls? What about the African-American students? What about the African-American male students? What about the Filipino students?" he said. "And then (we are) making decisions, some which had to do with policies, others had to do with the early start program.”

Chase pointed to changes like encouraging all students to take a full course load, which improved graduation rates across the board. But he said the university’s efforts have lifted graduation rates most for those students who come to the school least prepared.

Now, Chase said, SDSU is focusing on how to get more students to graduate in four years, a priority that Gov. Jerry Brown has also adopted.