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Halfway through a 10-year initiative to increase the share of graduating students, the nation’s largest public university continues to make steady progress on improving overall graduation rates but remains stymied by stubborn equity gaps and faces the threat of backsliding amid state budget cuts and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced almost all instruction online.

The California State University awarded nearly 110,000 baccalaureate degrees in May. Across the system’s 23 campuses, the four-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen now stands at 31%, up significantly from 19% in 2015 and about halfway to the goal of 40% by 2025, according to figures released by the university Friday. The six-year graduation rate is now 62%.

Nationally, about 44% of students at any type of four-year institution graduate in four years, and 62% of students graduate in six years, according to the most recent federal data.

Among transfer students, CSU has also demonstrated steady improvement, with 44% of transfer students graduating in two years. That number is just shy of the 45% goal set for 2025 and a marked increase over the 31% two-year graduation rate among transfer students in 2015.

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