- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - The chancellor of the California State University on Tuesday set a new goal for students - increase graduation rates to 60 percent by 2025.

In his “State of the CSU” address, Chancellor Timothy White said more college graduates will be needed to mitigate a coming “education drought” in the state.

He cited a report by the Public Policy Institute of California, projecting there will be a shortage of a million college-educated workers in a decade.

“In the last decade, more than 900,000 CSU degrees have been earned,” White said. “An impressive figure, but that number will need to rise.”

The graduation rate for first-time freshmen finishing within six years of enrollment is expected to reach 54 percent this spring. Rates are lower for students finishing within four years.

If the 2025 goals are achieved, CSU will produce an additional 100,000 graduates. In addition to setting an overall target for new freshmen, the plan sets goals for increasing the number of graduates finishing within four years and transfer students completing their degrees.

White also called on the state to provide financial resources necessary to achieve the graduation goal, stating that students “should not be the default financiers of higher education.”

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget would provide $120 million more to CSU next year. White has said that is $97 million less than what will be needed for enrollment growth and to boost completion.

University of California officials say the governor’s budget falls short of the funds they will need to avoid hiking tuition. CSU officials have not discussed raising tuition.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said the 2025 target for new graduates is ambitious.

“That will be very valuable to our remaining competitive in the global economy,” he said, noting it will require state investment to be achieved.

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