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Cal State strategy aims to close graduation gap

Students on the campus of Cal State-Fullerton
Matthew Gush
Flickr / Creative Commons
Students on the campus of Cal State-Fullerton

EdSource reportssome campuses are targeting new dollars and deploying new strategies to specifically target students of color that will help increase graduation, persistence and retention.

CSU's Young Males of Color Consortium, which is housed at Cal State Dominguez Hills, received more than $3 million from a group of organizations including Ballmer Group, College Futures Foundation, ECMC Foundation and Ichigo Foundation to create new programs that support men of color on Cal State campuses.

Sixteen CSU campuses and their neighboring community colleges will deploy those programs with the goal of improving rates of transfer, retention and graduation for up to 800 students. The partnered universities and colleges will start working with up to 40 young men each to pilot the new strategies.

The consortium, which started in 2017, has the goal of working across campuses to share information and data, and find solutions to help CSU's Black and brown men.

The main challenge the consortium realized it needed to tackle was "institutional complacency" because many campuses failed to have the right data on students of color, or limited their investment in improving their academic performance, said William Franklin, vice president of student affairs for the Dominguez Hills campus.

Last year, during CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025 event, new data revealed the graduation gap between African American, Latino and Native American students and their peers increased by one point to a 13 percent difference. The 2023 six-year graduation rate for African American students, for example, is at 47 percent but 62 percent for all students.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.