May 20, 2016 — A new policy paper from the Public Policy Institute of California investigates the impact of several strategies to increase the system’s graduation rate, including improving student preparation through the CSU Early Start program, which requires students who need remediation to enroll in a free summer course on-campus before their freshmen year to prepare for college-level work. Preliminary results suggest that Early Start students often outperform similar students who did not require remediation in their first-year coursework, and that the Early Start may have contributed to the campus’s success in supporting underrepresented students to graduation, as the graduation gap has now shrunk to only 1.5 percentage points. Offering precollege interventions, including bridge courses like CSU’s Early Start, is an important way higher education can improve student readiness; learn more from our report, Seizing the Moment: Community Colleges Collaborating to Improve Student Success.

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