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CSU Chancellor Timothy White talked about the drought of bachelor’s degrees in California

Water isn’t the only thing California is running out of, according to California State University Chancellor Timothy White in a virtual press conference Friday afternoon.

“California is also facing an equally devastating drought, and that is the number of people in California who have a bachelor’s degree,” White said.

In ten years, the state of California will be 1 million degrees short of sustaining its economy, White said. This includes degrees given by any university statewide, as well as by the CSU system.

White announced an initiative to raise graduation rates 9 percent by the year 2025 during an initiative at the annual state of the CSU talk in January.

He said in order to implement this goal the CSU system needs to acquire another $100 million from somewhere, whether it’s from the government, a philanthropist or the students.

Though tuition will not be raised next year, students will most likely see a series of 2 percent increases in the years to come, White said.

“[I plan to have] that conversation as I read the tea leaves of our resource needs in the demand,” White said.

Public CSU system statistics indicate that raising graduation rates by 9 percent is actually a simple goal.

In the last ten years, the number of undergraduate degrees that CSU awarded raised by 27.6 percent, from 65,741 in 2003-2004 to 85,191 in 2013-2014.

To get money by other means, White said he urges students to knock on office doors in Sacramento or to write letters to legislators to convince the state government to give CSU the additional $100 million in recurring funds needed to improve graduation rates.

“It’s not to be greedy,” White said. “It’s money [for] CSU to create opportunities for our students by way of more faculty, academic advisors and mentors, undergraduate research opportunities and all of the things that engage a student in a really meaningful education.”

Additionally, White said he would like to use technology to make the transfer process more clear for the approximately 50,000 students coming from high schools and 50,000 coming from community colleges.

White said that oftentimes students end up taking community college classes that are nontransferable due to confusing information and policies, leading to the current 4.7-year average graduation time.

At California State University, Long Beach, tuition is currently $3,226 per semester, including a student excellence fee of $173, which may increase by another $165 per semester ($124 in the summer) depending on the results of the USU referendum vote Feb. 25 and 26.

After the three 2 percent increases mentioned by Chancellor White, tuition at CSULB would be $3,423.

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