Building on the progress made by Colorado State University campuses over the past decade, the CSU System Board of Governors recently voted in favor of an $ 11 million investment to advance efforts to close equity gaps and improve overall student success rates.
Equity Gaps are disparities in educational outcomes based on socioeconomic status, race, gender, and other demographic characteristics. As an example, the 2020 Colorado Talent Pipeline report found that 62.6% of Colorado’s best jobs require a degree beyond a high school diploma – and white students are more likely to graduate. high school graduation and obtain a college diploma or certificate as students of color. Nationally, first-generation students are more than twice as likely to leave college within three years without a degree.
“We cannot meet our overall student success goals without closing the equity gaps – those gaps between the number of majority students and under-represented students who stay in college and graduate,” he said. said Rick Miranda, CSU System Studies Director.
The CSU system has found statistically significant performance gaps on its campuses between majority students and those who are first generation, rural, non-resident, under-represented / minority, financially stressed or under-prepared academically. – as well as gender gaps, which may include gaps in majors that may traditionally be dominated by one gender or another.
Each of CSU’s three campuses – Colorado State University at Fort Collins, Colorado State University Pueblo, and Colorado State University Global – faces its own challenges in student success, so the Council’s additional funding is targeted at students. specific needs of each campus. . But across the system, the initiative will focus its funding on six broad categories: data; instill a culture of success at the college / departmental level; changes to the curriculum; curriculum improvements; extracurricular investments; and targeted financial assistance.
In total, the board has committed $ 11.2 million over three years, including $ 9 million for operations at CSU Fort Collins and $ 2.209 million for CSU Pueblo. The ambitious goal is to eliminate fairness gaps for all demographics by 2027 and to raise student achievement indicators to the top quartile of peers over the same period.
CSU Fort Collins
The flagship Colorado State Campus in Fort Collins has been intensely focused on improving overall student success rates for almost 14 years, since 2008. As part of these efforts, the university has restructured its consulting activities and invested heavily in financial assistance. Its landmark Colorado Tuition Assistance Grant (CTAG) provides need-based assistance to low- and middle-income students based on student and family income. More than 4,700 CSU Fort Collins students win the scholarship each year. In total, the program has paid approximately $ 180 million to approximately 21,000 Colorado students. Overall, 60% of CSU students receive some kind of grant and scholarship assistance from CSU, from federal, state and local sources (not counting federal student loans).
The $ 9 million in new campus resources over the next three years will support increased financial assistance for rural and low-income students; the continued development of data tools to analyze and inform decision-making regarding student success; investments in academic and extracurricular improvements to support marginalized populations, faculty professional development, academic enrichment, and targeted interventions at college and departmental levels; and more. These efforts are all part of the planning process for the courageous strategic campus transformation, initiated by President Joyce McConnell.
Campus student success initiatives have seen good progress over five years, with overall campus diversity and graduation rates both steadily increasing. In 2020-2021, 24% of graduate students (1,268 out of 5,371 graduates) were in the minority, up from 12% in 2011-12. In 2021, the campus recorded the highest number of racial minority and first-generation students graduating.
The university has continued to advance, but as enrollments have exploded in recent years, the equity gaps that were nearly closed reopened, and the six-year graduation gap for students who entered. fall 2014 is now 4.8 percentage points. The President’s Office and Executive Vice-President recently formed six Student Success Working Groups focused on reducing gaps and improving retention rates. Expert teams assess and reinvent processes and systems at all levels, including academic counseling and early intervention, curriculum support and reform, the impact of the pandemic on students, financial aid and other support structures and models of care.
In 2019, CSU Pueblo and President Timothy Mottet launched their Vision 2028 plan, which aims over 10 years to transform the campus into the People’s University of the South West, a financially sustainable institution where graduates are equipped with the skills and experiences. to meaningfully contribute to their families, communities and work. The plan focuses on increasing enrollment and expanding opportunities for students, with substantial investments in counseling, student services, academic programs, internships and synthetic experiences, career services, etc.
As of fall 2020, the equity gap in graduation rates was 1.66%, while the retention gap was 3.66%. While CSU Pueblo’s graduation rate for Hispanic students (35.3%) almost mirrors that of the campus as a whole, (35.8%), white students continue to graduate at a higher rate – 38.2% for white students in general and 46.1% for white women. (Hispanic women at CSU Pueblo also exceed the overall graduation rate, at 37.6%). The $ 2.02 million in new resources for the campus over the next three years will support the Vision 2028 plan with expanded support and tutoring services to students, increased financial assistance, professional development around teaching and of learning, enriched and expanded courses and programs, and a focus on reducing student costs for textbooks and other learning tools. Currently 93% of CSU Pueblo students receive financial aid.
CSU Pueblo’s Discovery Scholars program, which places students in supervised research experiences early in their undergraduate program, will be a major area of interest.
Under the leadership of President Pamela Toney, CSU Global plans to internally fund efforts that will halve the equity gaps in retention and graduation over the next three years. At the undergraduate level, at the bachelor’s level, there is currently a 7.3% gap in graduation rates between majority and minority students, and a 4.9% gap in retention rates.
More than half of CSU Global students are currently receiving financial aid.