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Graduation Initiative

Initiative Baseline and Category Definitions

  • Cohorts used to define CSU baseline rates for Graduation Initiative 2025 (GI 2025)

    Four-year Freshman Rate: Fall 2011 first-time full-time freshmen

    Six-year Freshman Rate: Fall 2009 first-time full-time freshmen

    Pell (Low Income) gap: Fall 2009 first-time full-time freshmen (six-year rate)

    Underrepresented Minority gap: Fall 2009 first-time full-time freshmen (six-year rate)

    Two-year Transfer Rate: Fall 2013 California Community College Transfers (full- and part-time sophomore level and above)

    Four-year Transfer Rate: Fall 2011 California Community College Transfers (full- and part-time sophomore level and above)

    All graduation rates computations reflect degrees earned through the summer conferral of degrees in a given year (e.g., six-year rate for fall 2009 cohort reflects percent of cohort earning their degree in summer 2015 or earlier). Reported rates are for degrees earned at the CSU campus of origin. Freshmen rates follow the NCES IPEDS methodology for cohort definition. Transfer rates follow the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) conventions for transfer cohort definition (CSU participates in CSRDE).

  • Pell status (CA Legislative mandated reporting category for GI 2025)

    Measure of students receiving Pell at entry

    Categories: The following two categories will be used in required CA legislative reporting for GI 2025:

    Category (1): Student received Pell at entry;

    Category (2): Student did not receive Pell at entry. This includes students not applying for aid and international students, who are not eligible to apply for federal aid.

    Data: CSU uses data reported in the Financial Aid Data Base (FADB) files submitted by the campus to establish the status. Preliminary estimates of percent Pell for the entering cohort are made using the Enrollment Reporting System Financial Aid (ERSFA) data file submitted by the campus. 

    For potential additional campus study, category (2) can be bifurcated into those applying for aid (based on FADB) but not receiving Pell (2a) and those not applying/not eligible to apply for federal aid (2b).

    Additionally, NCES IPEDS is considering a construct of “Received Pell at any point during the college career” for a future collection effort (we do not anticipate this use in GI 2025 efforts).

  • Parent Education Level (CA Legislative mandated reporting category for GI 2025)

    Measure of family experience in higher education at entry.

    Categories: The following four categories will be used in required CA legislative reporting for GI 2025:

    Category (1): One or more parents have earned a bachelor's degree or higher;

    Category (2): One or more parents attended college but neither have earned a bachelor degree or higher;

    Category (3): Student is among first generation of family to attend a college or university (parents did not attend college);

    Category (4): Parent education is unknown.

    Data: CSU uses application data reported in the Enrollment Reporting System Applicant (ERSA) files submitted by campuses to establish status. The parent education level variable is computed based on an aggregation of ERSA files.

    The four categories will be used in required CA legislative reporting for GI 2025. The gap to be closed is between categories (1) and (3).

    Students in category (3) are considered to be  among the first generation of their families to attend college. Students in categories (2) and (3) seek to be  among the first generation of their families to earn a college degree.

  • Underrepresented minority (URM; CA Legislative mandated reporting category for GI 2025)

    While the term underrepresented minority is not one preferred by the CSU, it is a CA legislatively mandated reporting category for monitoring progress on closing gaps on four-year freshman and two-year transfer graduation rates. The URM construct (IPEDS Ethnic/Race reporting categories of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Native American) was developed by the Education Trust/NASH and used during CSU’s 2009 graduation initiative participation in the Access to Success initiative. The Ed Trust/NASH definition of URM will be used for CSU CA mandated legislative reporting.

    Categories: The following two categories will be used in required CA legislative reporting for GI 2025: 

    Category (1): Underrepresented minority (IPEDS Ethnic/Race reporting categories of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Native American);

    Category (2): Not underrepresented minority (IPEDS Ethnic/Race reporting categories of white, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Two or More Races, Unknown, and Non-Resident Alien/International)

    Data: The CSU uses student enrollment data reported in the Enrollment Reporting System Student (ERSS) files submitted by campuses to compute the IPEDS Ethnic/Race and to derive this variable.

  • Traditionally underserved student (not a CA Legislative mandated reporting category for GI 2025)

    For potential additional campus study, examine students meeting one or more of the following categories:

    Category (1): Students who have received Pell (i.e., low-income students);

    Category (2): Students whose parents have not earned a bachelor’s degree (i.e., First Generation to Attend and First Generation to Earn a Degree);

    Category (3): URM Students who by ethnic/race are historically underrepresented in bachelor degree attainment (i.e., Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Native American). 

    Additional groups for consideration to include are: 

    • Undocumented students;
    • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students;
    • Historically underrepresented Asian subgroups based on bachelor degree attainment of population aged 25+: Burmese, Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Vietnamese;
    • Multiple race students from historically underrepresented race groups (reported in IPEDS as multiple race). 

    The variable is derived using computations from the three CA mandated reporting categories for GI 2025 above plus additional computations using ERSS and ERSR (applicant ethnic race reporting) data files submitted by the campus.