By Michele Siqueiros, President
The California State University (CSU) plays a critical role in ensuring California has the educated citizenry we need to meet workforce demand. By 2030, California needs 60% of adults to have a college degree. That means drastic improvements in degree attainment for Black and Latinx students.
We at the Campaign for College Opportunity have fought alongside the CSU every year during the state budget season to increase the number of spots available for California students, to increase funding of efforts like the Graduation Initiative 2025, and to eliminate remedial education courses. At the local level, we have supported campuses that have worked hard to serve more of the growing eligible students, even as they have financial limits to the number of seats they can offer. But CSU’s recent proposal to add an additional math, science, or other quantitative reasoning course to their eligibility requirements for incoming freshmen threatens college opportunity by making the CSU more selective than ever before, and that threatens to disproportionately affect low income, Latinx, Black, and Native American students who already face unequal preparation and access to college prep courses in high school.
There are several harmful implications of the proposal:
- The CSU proposal is an unfunded mandate on K-12 school districts, which already lack the capacity to offer the current A-G curriculum equitably. In fact, this proposal will increase the disparity that already exists in college preparation for our growing diverse student body. The CSU will lose 600 Black students and 5,000 Latinx students yearly.
- This proposal by CSU has been pushed for without significant input from public stakeholders, K-12 partners, and the legislature. It also threatens to misalign college readiness requirements from the University of California (UC), meaning that some students could be eligible for the UC and NOT for the CSU.
- There is no independent and transparent research that proves this change is necessary, or that is is the only solution to the CSU’s stated problem – to improve college graduation rates. It also puts the onus on K-12 to improve college completion, instead of pushing CSU to expand solutions to support their students.