Graduation rates at all-time high at Fresno State

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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Fresno State graduation rates are at an all-time high. University officials say it's taken six years of hard work to get to this point.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State's graduation rate is at an all-time high. University officials said its taken six years of hard work to see the increase.

Fresno State has been tracking students since 2008, trying to figure out why many of them weren't graduating on time and what their hurdles were. Administrators put in place several new programs to try and increase student success.

Students at Fresno State participate in a Research and Writing Clinic which is one of several new programs offered by the University to help them graduate.

Vice Provost for Fresno State Dennis Nef said, "Support Net was another initiative where a faculty could send a note to our tutoring center for students who were in need of additional support and they got it."

This year, Fresno State is celebrating the record-high six-year graduation rate of 58.4-percent. Compare that to 47.8-percent from six years earlier.

Administrators say they used the six-year rate because that's what is used to compare with other universities nationwide. Officials say a deeper focus on student needs was behind the big increase. Nef said "One of the things we did is we redesigned courses that were significantly difficult for freshmen. We also put into place a program we called Supplemental Instruction which provides tutors for students in those courses."

They also worked with local county Offices of Education to make sure high school students were learning English and Math to the levels necessary for college. Some students at Fresno State say they've noticed the increased support. It's just up to students to take advantage of the help. Senior Ana Cruz said, "Here in the library I think they provide tutoring. They provide writing workshops where they help with their essays."

Students say still more needs to be done to help them graduate in four years. Many say there is still a long wait to get into core classes. A lot of it has to do with less offerings because there aren't as many full-time professors. Cruz is experiencing that right now. She told us, "I'm looking at spending another semester here. It's just because there aren't enough professors and there's a lot of students."

Administrators said they didn't just work with students their freshman year, they worked with them every single year after in order to address their needs.

Ultimately, they'd like to hit President Joseph Castro's goal of a 70-percent graduation rate.