Student Success Plan
As the oldest public institution in California, San Jose State University has a long and proud history as a supplier of excellent higher education, a contributor to the skilled workforce in the Bay Area and an incubator for innovations that have significant local and global impact. Through the decades, our priority has remained the same – to offer an exceptional and affordable education to all of our students so they find success in their careers and become engaged citizens of California.
When our students receive a quality education and complete their degrees on time (e.g. in four years for college-ready freshmen) they:
- pay less in tuition and accrue less student loan debt;
- begin full-time employment sooner, thus gaining more work experience and a higher potential lifetime salary;
- enter the workforce with valuable skills that are sought by Silicon Valley companies, including in high-tech and business firms; government and public service; arts, literature and entertainment; health professions; education and many other fields and industries; and
- provide the ability for new students to access educational opportunities at SJSU.
Once admitted, our students join a network of Spartans committed to supporting academic, professional and personal success. Together, we should provide our students with a clear and timely pathway to an outstanding degree. However, we often fail to live up to this promise: for the student who starts the fall semester in need of college readiness support in English and math; for the student who needs advice when advisors are booked solid for weeks; for the student who feels disconnected from the campus and drifts away; and for the student whose progress is blocked because a bottleneck course is unavailable semester after semester. We acknowledge that some students opt to take less than a full course load, with 19 percent of undergraduate and 37 percent of graduate students enrolled part time in fall 2015. We also have a significant percentage of students who work to finance their education, including 27 percent of freshmen and 64 percent of seniors, according to the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement. We can and must do better for our students, especially those who need additional support on their road to success.
While we have made great improvements in six-year graduation rates, not all students share the benefits of that progress. SJSU reported a six-year graduation rate of 56.8 percent in 2015, up nearly 10 percentage points in just the last few years. This rate is on par with the national average for public universities of 58 percent, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics for 2015. The university’s four-year graduation rates remain stubbornly low at 10 percent.
Graduation rates for underrepresented minority (URM – Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino and Native American) students are increasing at a slower rate than non-URM students, a national trend. SJSU's six-year graduation rates for URM students is 44 percent. Read the Graduation Rate FAQ online for more details. Between 2003-2013, 77 percent of universities in the United States increased URM graduation rates, but only 45.7 percent were successful in decreasing the gap between URM and non-URM students, according to a report by the Education Trustthat reviewed more than 255 institutions.
To lift our rates even higher for all students, the campus needs a unified plan to guide our efforts so that we are all moving in the same direction. We need to come together to find the greatest opportunities for improvement, the most important areas for coordination and the most strategic places for investment.