New graduation initiative will increase tuition but address inequality


GI 2025 aims to address concerns of a growing, diverse educational system. Photo credit: Natalie Hanson

Recently, salary increases for state university presidents have been approved, and tuition increases are also currently set to aid in funding for Graduation Initiative 2025.

Associated Students President Dylan Gray seeks to educate the student body about the initiative to understand the coming increases, as many may have misconceptions or not be aware of it at all.

“I have not yet spoken to the administration about their salary increases — there is a diplomatic way to go about it,” said Gray. “I meet with the chair of the academic senate, President Hutchinson and I have a one-on-one and I also meet with the provosts. I meet with them individually, in person, and through these conversations find a way to bring it up at the Academic Senate. This is just to increase transparency. I do not want to attack anyone, although this is a big issue.”

President Gray was scheduled to attend the October CSSA weekend conference, Oct. 13 through 15, at Sonoma State to further understand the increases for presidents, but due to the fires in the area, the conference had to be canceled. However, he did attend a symposium focused on Graduation Initiative 2025.

Historically, students in minorities have been defined as individuals who have institutional disadvantages towards their education, such as being the first in their family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. An entirely new system of categorizing students based on new definitions for being under-served is being used for this initiative, according to an official release on GI 2025 by the CSU.

Part of the goal of this categorization, says Gray, is to raise awareness of the institutional barriers many students face. According to the official information for GI 2025, more than one-third of all students are the first in their family to attend college. Approximately 40 percent of students also enter the CSU not ready for college-level work.

In addition, approximately half of all students identify as being part of ethnic communities that have been under-served. The quality of these students’ background and education affects their ability to graduate, and the chancellor, says Gray, intends for GI 2025 to address these factors.

However, the release does not provide specific ways for how this will be achieved, beyond facilitating discussion of these factors.

Gray also stated that according to Chancellor Timothy P. White, the purpose of this initiative is still to help students graduate as efficiently as possible.

“One of the breakout sessions we attended was highly geared to not pushing students out into the workforce because it’s the university’s job to have relationships with outside businesses, which is essentially asking how well they are providing job opportunities to our students. ”

Gray added that a major concern for the state is that many employers are reportedly saying that students who are hired are not prepared for the workforce. While reportedly more students are being graduated in the system than by any other in the nation, according to the official release. The CSU said it also wants students to be better prepared for the workforce.

These concerns are supposed to be addressed by the initiative, and these are claimed to be reasons for tuition hikes to help pay for its success.

However, rising salaries for presidents of campuses statewide, including the raise for Gayle Hutchinson, may be difficult for many students to see as warranting further costs of their education.

Gray’s hope is that despite demands on their wallets, students will get informed about the changes to the system, as it directly affects their futures, and understand why it is happening. He emphasized the importance of understanding the historical reasons for the initiative, and that ultimately, transparency is key.

“We need to increase transparency between students and administration on our campus…to understand each other better.”

Natalie Hanson can be reached at [email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion on Twitter.