CSUN ranks high in minority degrees

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CSUN is 13th on the list of most bachelor’s degrees awarded to minority students by American universities in 2004.

CSUN granted the seventh highest number of bachelor’s degrees to Latinos in the United States, and in the CSU system awarded the third largest number of B.A.’s to Latinos, according to a survey conducted by the magazine Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, which tracks the number of minority college students that graduate every year.

Graduation rates for Latinos and African-Americans, however, lag substantially behind whites and Asians at CSUN, according to Office of Institutional Research.

The average time it takes a first-time freshman to graduate is about six years, according to Institutional Research.

While Latinos make up 25.6 percent of CSUN’s student body, only 20.5 percent of students who received degrees in 2004 were Latino, according to the Institutional Research fact sheet. 23.3 percent of Latinos who are first-time freshman graduate in six years, according to Institutional Research. The most recent information on ethnic graduation rates available was from Fall 1996 to Fall 2001.

African-Americans make up 7.5 percent of CSUN students, yet account for only 5.1 percent of students graduating in 2004, according to the fact sheet. The six-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen African-American students is 14.8 percent according to the Institutional research. The most recent information on ethnic graduation rates available was from Fall 1996 to Fall 2001.

Whites and Asians make up 32.4 and 8.1 percent of the CSUN population, respectively, but make up 37.7 and 8.4 percent of students graduating in 2004.

CSUN’s six-year graduation rate for full and first-time freshmen between 1997 and 2003 is 29.2 percent, compared to a CSU-wide graduation rate of 41.6 percent.

After six years, 11.1 percent of Fall 1997 first-time freshmen were still continuing their studies, compared with 10.7 percent CSU system-wide, according to the 2004 Crime Awareness and Campus Security Report.

Terry Piper, vice president for Student Affairs, said graduation rates for minority ethnic groups concern the university, but mostly in the context of the overall campus graduation rate.

“Many of the efforts that we are putting in place, like the new (General Education) requirements, will help the graduation rates of all students, as well as students from ethnic minority groups,” Piper said.

John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson, said the G.E. reform plan would take effect in 2006 in an effort to raise graduation rates for all students.

“The (lower graduation rates for blacks and Latinos) problem is a nation-wide issue,” Chandler said. “We focus on the graduation rates for all students and we are trying to pull up the rates for all students, all groups. As the overall graduation rates go up, so will the minority graduation rates.”

In May, the CSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt a 22-point plan to boost graduation rates and put an end to high dropout rates in the CSU system.

The plan reduces the amount of general education units required to graduate, and creates partnerships between the CSUs and high schools to better prepare high school seniors for college, according to Clara Potes-Fellow, CSU spokesperson.

“We are committed to increasing Latino and African American students’ eligibility for a four-year college degree,” said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, in an e-mail. “The real challenge is for Latino and African-American students to have proportional representation in the eligibility pool. A goal of ours is to expand the pool of eligible Latino and African- American students and increase their graduation rates.”

Robert McDonald can be reached at robert.mcdonald.690@csun.edu.