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Cal State students could get help graduating on time under bill sent to governor

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks with Steve Glazer, then mayor of Orinda, in 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks with Steve Glazer, then mayor of Orinda, in 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California lawmakers on Tuesday sent the governor a bill that could help students graduate in four years from California State University schools.

Only 19% of students at Cal State campuses graduate in four years, state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) said, citing statistics from 2011. Glazer's bill would create programs at Cal State campuses to help students graduate on time. Students in the programs would receive extra support from academic advisors and priority registration in classes. They would be required to take a minimum number of credits and maintain a qualifying GPA.

Low-income and first-generation students, as well as community college graduates and students from communities with low college attendance rates, would be given priority to participate in the programs. They would also have to be eligible for in-state tuition.

State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) lauded the bill and said it would have helped him when he was in college. He said it took him six years to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from a California State University.

"If I had something like this when I was in college, it would have given me the tools to perhaps graduate in four years,” he said.

State Sens. Robert Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) both praised the legislation, but questioned whether it should be made available to more students. Huff said he wished the program were available to every Cal State student, not just a “limited subset."

Glazer defended the legislation, saying better graduation rates for a subset of students would save the state money and open spots for other students.

"I’m convinced that everyone will benefit from a more efficient university system,” Glazer said. “This legislation will open up more pathways to student success and four-year degrees."

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