CSUN is labeled as a “four-year-university,” yet the majority of their students take longer than the advertised time to graduate.
According to College Navigator, CSUN’s four-year graduation rate is roughly 14 percent. The average six-year graduation rate is between 41 and 48 percent and the average 8-year graduation rate is 49 percent.
Though it is fortunate that the number of graduating students seems to be growing, with about 48 percent overall, it is unfortunate that it falls under a longer period of time.
The price for CSUN’s tuition has increased 43 percent since the 2007-2008 school year, leaving more students in the dust, unable to afford tuition and in turn, unable to graduate school in the anticipated four years they had planned. This is also related to the number of cutbacks in classes, due to the recent budget cuts, and leaving more students on waiting lists yearning for a seat in their required classes.
The school and the state are making more money from students taking their time in college, charging the same for students with seven units as a student taking 19 units, so even if you don’t have a full course-load, you are still paying the price of one and for a longer period of time.
Communications major, Daniel Alvarado, a transfer student from College of the Canyons, is in his sixth year of college and planning to graduate spring semester. He said what has taken him six years is changing his major as well as playing baseball, taking up a lot of his time, and not knowing the CSUN system when he first transferred.
Alvarado also works while attending school, paying his own tuition, and though he said he has always been a full-time student, he worked more than he attended school.
“I probably could have handled more, but I didn’t,” he said in regards to working on his academic career.
Sociology major, Angie Fusano, also a transfer student has been attending college for six years, with a long break in between, requiring her to take extra classes as refresher courses.
Though she plans to graduate next year, she said changing her major, trouble getting required courses, and taking time off has held her back from graduating within a shorter time period.
While students may choose to go at a slower pace, perhaps due to not knowing which major may suit them best, these formative years may be best spent at a community college, where tuition is far less than any university and students alike are making the same ultimatums like Fusano and Alvarado chose to do.
I believe aside from not knowing what they want to major in, student interest and their eagerness to learn and/or to graduate within the four-year period has decreased.
It seems to me, with education budgets decreasing at a rapid rate and tuition alternatively increasing, students would want to graduate as soon as possible and find their way into the real world and a steady “grown-up” job instead of taking their time and letting these unwelcomed forces get in their way.
Schools such as Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. are offering a four-year degree guarantee so long as students satisfy the policies in their catalog, including meeting regularly with an academic counselor and registering for classes in a timely fashion. If they fail to graduate in four years but have complied with these policies, the school waives tuition fees for the courses needed to complete the degree.
Perhaps CSUN needs to adopt a program similar to this one for first time freshmen to stay at the same pace as some other schools such as Boston College, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University, all with four-year degree rate percentages in the high 80’s.