The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) A more concerted, statewide effort to create pathways to four-year graduation is needed at the California State University. For the 2010 cohort of full-time, first-time students at the California State University, 19 percent graduated within four academic years. According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, the most recent nationally comparable data shows that the California State University's overall four-year graduation rate was 16 percent in 2011, below the national rate of 26 percent among similar public institutions.
(b) Impediments students face in graduating within four academic years include the inability to complete sufficient units per academic year or take courses that are part of their degree programs.
(c) New approaches are critical for the future of higher education in California. Efforts have been ongoing, though sporadic, to improve postsecondary educational institution enrollment and graduation. These efforts will need to be intensified and made more broadly systemic.
(d) Students who graduate within four academic years save tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to the direct costs of extended college and university enrollment, students miss out on earnings in the workforce while they remain in school.
(e) According to the Public Policy Institute of California, if bold measures are not taken, California will fall short of the state's economic demand by 1.1 million college and university graduates by 2030. An increased demand for highly educated workers will outweigh the number of qualified applicants for available jobs, which will be exacerbated when scores of highly educated baby boomers retire. The share of workers with a baccalaureate degree will be 33 percent in 2030, below the 38 percent that will be needed.
(f) The impact of graduation rates from California State University campuses is felt not only throughout the state, but also the nation. One out of every 10 California employees is a California State University graduate, while one out of every 20 United States citizens with a college or university degree graduates from a campus of the California State University. These statistics emphasize the national importance of graduation rates at California State University campuses.
(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that the California State University system include the California Promise as a component of the plan submitted to the Legislature and the Department of Finance to increase graduation rates at CSU campuses above those at other institutions and increase graduation rates for low-income students, first-generation students, and students from underrepresented minority groups as quickly as possible.
(h) The California Promise programs established at the California State University in accordance with this part should aim to reflect the demographics of their respective campuses and make the benefits provided available on an equitable basis considering the populations attending each campus.
(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 436, Sec. 1.)