August 24, 2019

If a college degree is a ticket to the middle class, too many students are falling off the bus: only about 6 in 10 students in public colleges and universities nationwide and in California manage to get a college degree in six years; the 4-year graduation rate is about 1 in 4.

In his new book, The College Dropout Scandal, David Kirp calls out American colleges and universities for a “dereliction of duty” for allowing this problem to persist.

But Kirp, a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and contributing columnist to the New York Times, also suggests solutions. His travels took him to Georgia State, the University of Central Florida and, in California, Cal State Long Beach – universities where strong leadership and persistent strategies have significantly raised graduation rates, especially among low-income, first-generation student populations.

California has initiated ambitious plans for all its public university systems to improve graduation rates. But it still has a long way to go to reach its goals.

This week, we interview Kirp about his findings and Cal State Long Beach President Jane Conoley about efforts, starting in local high schools with the Long Beach Promise, to build an institutional culture that helps students to pursue and thrive in college.

For more, see the following articles: