Only 30% of 9th graders Earn Bachelor’s Degrees

A recent report, Improving College Pathways in California shows that less than a third of today’s high school freshman will go on to complete a four-year higher education program.

The study by the Public Policy Institute of California also shows most California high school graduates do not complete the college preparatory courses required for admission to the CSU or UC systems.

Part of the problem lies in the limited number of spots available for students wishing to be admitted to a university.

According to the report, CSU lacks adequate capacity to enroll qualified students. In the past four years, CSU has turned away more than 69,000 qualified California high school graduates who completed the a–g course requirements. The report suggests expanding capacity at CSU is essential.

“Widespread progression problems in high schools are keeping even academically prepared students from advancing to the next level of college prep coursework,” said Niu Gao, PPIC research fellow and coauthor of the report. “Similar problems exist in community colleges, where well-prepared students do not take the transfer-level courses that would move them toward college completion.”

The report describes policy actions to improve college pathways—an urgent issue at a time when the state faces a shortfall of highly educated workers.

At the high school level, the state should consider updating high school graduation requirements. California lags behind other states—it is one of the few that require just two years of math for high school graduation—and this affects the courses students take. School districts need to increase the number of a–g approved courses, encourage more high school seniors to take these courses, and revise course placement policies to help nudge students to stay on track.


Image Courtesy of PPIC on Facebook.