Board of Trustees: EVC Blanchard on GI2015

[For those who weren’t able to enjoy the spectacle and pageantry of this week’s BOT meeting, I’m posting some  important items.]

Here’s the report Executive Vice Chancellor Blanchard (basically the CSU Provost) read verbatim to the Board’s educational policy committee about GI2025:

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATIONAL POLICY Graduation Initiative 2025

Presentation By

Loren J. Blanchard
 Executive Vice Chancellor Academic and Student Affairs

Summary

Graduation Initiative 2025 is the California State University’s (CSU) signature effort aimed at increasing degree completion rates and eliminating equity gaps, thereby ensuring student success and meeting the future workforce needs of the State of California. This report is designed to provide an update on the work underway at the system-level to achieve the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals.

Background

At the January 2017 Board of Trustees meeting, Chancellor White outlined five priority areas where focus is needed to achieve the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals: academic preparation, enrollment management, financial aid, data-driven decision making and administrative barriers. Based on feedback received from campus constituents, “student engagement and wellbeing” has been added as a sixth focus area. The following represents the CSU’s aspirational goals with respect to each of these areas of focus:

  1. Academic preparation: We will provide CSU students, including those who arrive academically underprepared, the opportunity and support needed to complete 30 college- level semester units—45 quarter units—before beginning their second academic year.
  2. Enrollment management: We will ensure students are able to enroll in the courses they need, when they need them.
  3. Student engagement and wellbeing: We will continue to address the wellbeing of all CSU students while fostering a strong sense of belongingness on campus.
  4. Financial aid: We will ensure that financial need does not impede student success.
  5. Data-driven decision making: We will use evidence and data to identify and advance the most successful academic support programs.
  6. Administrative barriers: We will identify and remove unnecessary administrative

At the March 2017 Board of Trustees meeting, the board received a presentation regarding a new approach to academic preparation intended to improve college readiness for all students. This approach includes promoting four years of high school mathematics/quantitative reasoning, improving placement and assessment, strengthening the Early Start Program and restructuring developmental education.

Priority Area Workgroups

Cross-representational workgroups are being created for each of the six priority areas of Graduation Initiative 2025 to provide policy and implementation guidance. Campus presidents, Academic Senate CSU Chair Dr. Christine Miller and California State Student Association (CSSA) President Mr. David Lopez were asked to nominate individuals to serve on each of the six workgroups. Members of the Academic and Student Affairs leadership team will staff each workgroup. The workgroup rosters will be finalized at the end of May. They will convene for approximately one year, meeting in-person quarterly and virtually several times throughout the year.

Update on Academic Preparation

Staff from the Chancellor’s Office has been consulting with a number of campus groups regarding academic preparation. Consultations have included campus presidents, provosts, vice presidents for student affairs, the Academic Senate of the CSU, the California Department of Education, the Math Council, the English Council and the General Education Advisory Committee, among others.

The feedback received from this consultative process was incorporated into a draft executive order, released in May. The Chancellor’s Office is currently soliciting a second round of feedback that will be used to draft the final policy, reflecting the collective advice of experts from around the system.

Financial Aid

More than 60 percent of all CSU students have their tuition fully covered by non-loan aid. As part of Graduation Initiative 2025, we are thinking about financial aid in two ways – as a support and as a potential incentive. For example, campuses are using their share of the $35 million in one- time funding to provide students with micro-grants and emergency loans to assist students who are on track to graduate but who face financial shortfalls that impede their path to a college degree.

Another strategy being implemented by campuses is increasing students’ financial literacy by providing information on the benefits of graduating a year—or a term—early. Students who graduate one semester early save more than $4,000 in tuition, fees, books and supplies. By ensuring students are aware of the potential cost savings, the CSU can help students make informed decisions when planning their course schedules. Some CSU campuses have already begun to incorporate this type of information into regular communication with their students.

Ed. Pol. Agenda Item 1 May 23-24, 2017 Page 3 of 3

The financial aid workgroup that is convening this summer will be exploring these topics and others in depth and making systemwide policy recommendations.

Year-Round Pell Grants

Restoring year-round Pell Grants has been one of the CSU’s top legislative priorities. In 2015-16, 52 percent of undergraduate students received Pell Grants. These grants help make college possible for thousands of CSU students, many of whom are from historically underserved communities. As such, a robust, flexible Pell program is critical to achieving the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals. By enabling students to complete coursework in the summer and providing flexibility for part-time students, year-round Pell leads to faster degree completion and increases the likelihood of on-time graduation.

In February 2017, Chancellor White joined Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of The State University of New York, in Washington, D.C. to advocate for the restoration of year-round Pell Grants. In April, the chancellor, trustees, presidents, Academic Senate of the CSU chair and CSSA travelled to Washington, D.C. for meetings with legislators and the administration about the importance of year-round Pell Grants.

The CSU’s leadership and sustained efforts on this issue have made a significant difference. As part of the omnibus bill for the current 2017 fiscal year, Senate appropriators restored year-round Pell Grant eligibility. Thousands of CSU students are expected to qualify, beginning summer 2018.

Campus Allocations to Support Graduation Initiative 2025

Funding is being allocated to all 23 campuses to support their Graduation Initiative 2025 work. For 2017-18, $75 million will be allocated to campuses in accordance with the board-approved tuition increase. Each campus will use its share of the funds to support its individual graduation initiative plan, including systemwide priorities of increased faculty hiring, offering additional high-demand course sections and providing additional academic and student support services such as advising, mentoring, tutoring and other supplemental instruction.

Separate from the $75 million, the Chancellor’s Office will begin providing additional resources to campuses in summer 2017 to support instructional innovations related to academic preparation. This includes approximately $10 million in reallocated funding to support faculty, academic departments and student affairs staff to enhance curriculum and instruction, improve data capacity and provide additional financial support for students.