FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A statewide initiative among the CSUs is causing graduation rates to climb for Fresno State college students.
Graduation Initiative 2025 is an effort by the CSUs to increase degree completion rates and they're seeing success. For Fresno State, their 4-year grad rate was just over 16% before the initiative started. Now they're close to 25%.
Fresno State graduate Natalia Herrera says she wasn't sure she'd be able to graduate on time.
"I was one of those students," said Herrera. "I was laid off so I wasn't able to pay for the full course, the summer course I needed."
A criminology student from Chowchilla, Herrera says the increasing costs of school were too much.
"I was able to apply, give my personal statement and see if I was a candidate, see if they were able to help me," explained Herrera.
As part of the Graduation Initiative 2025, Fresno State offers a variety of academic and financial resources to help students graduate on time. Among them, a program to help cover costs for summer school, so students can get the credits they need to finish.
"It actually helped me out a lot," said Herrera. "Just because a unit at Fresno state is pretty expensive."
Helping students like Herrera cross the graduation stage.
"Our goal is for every one of our students to realize their full potential," explained Dr. Xuanning Fu Fresno State's Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. "To graduate on time is a very important goal, but it's just one of them."
As for Herrera, since graduating on time - she's worked at the Marjaree Mason Center on their crisis response team and now as a micro technician.
"I'd encourage current students, transfers, freshmen, to seek out any resources that are out there," said Herrera. "Because the Provost Initiative Act I was part of helped me financially and academically."
Fresno State says while graduation rates are up for first-years and transfers, there are still areas that need improvement like the 6-year grad rate. They've had some setbacks due to COVID-19 but they're working to get those numbers up by 2025.