CSU launches $11M “student success” effort to boost 70% graduation rate

Colorado State University leaders say they’ll invest $11 million in an effort to close “equity gaps” and increase student success.

Overall, 47% of CSU students graduate within four years and 70% graduate in six years — on par with similar public universities nationwide.

“Too many students do not complete their degrees,” CSU Provost Mary Pedersen said. “This comes down to converting students into graduates. The $11 million is to increase the number of students who are successful so that they are not walking away with debt but no college degree.”

CSU officials say they’re particularly concerned about low-income students and students from marginalized communities. They’ve found lagging performance and lower graduation rates among students who are the first in their families to attend college, students from rural areas and those who face financial pressure.

The “equity gaps” have become a focus for academic administrators at CSU, the University of Colorado and around the U.S. — disparities in graduation rates that officials have correlated with family income, race, gender and other traits.

CSU’s $11 million student success effort will increase financial aid for rural and low-income students, officials said. At present, 79% of CSU students overall receive financial aid (93% on the CSU-Pueblo campus and 51% for CSU Global).

The money also will fund data analysis, expanded student support and tutoring, curriculum improvements to support marginalized students and faculty development, officials said.

And they’re exploring “predictive modeling” to determine warning signs as a way to identify students who are likely to drop out before completing their degrees and provide help.

About 33,000 students are enrolled at CSU’s main campus in Fort Collins, 4,000 at CSU-Pueblo, and 20,000 online with the CSU Global program.

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