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Does Guaranteed Tuition Lower College Costs?

By Jacob Jackson

Colleges that guarantee the same tuition for four years make planning easier for students—but don’t necessarily make degrees less expensive.

Report

Improving College Graduation Rates: A Closer Look at California State University

By Kevin Cook, Jacob Jackson

Low college graduation rates come at a high cost—lower salaries, lower tax revenue, and fewer college graduates in the workforce. At California State University (CSU), the nation's largest university system, graduation rates have an outsized financial and economic impact on students and the state.

CSU has made strides in improving graduation rates, but there is more work to be done. The system continues to struggle with graduation gaps—underrepresented students are much less likely to complete their degree compared to their peers, and these gaps have not narrowed over time. Also, CSU's on-time (four-year) graduation rates still lag behind those of similar universities nationwide.

By 2025, CSU aims to further increase graduation rates while cutting graduation gaps in half. To assist campus planning for this goal, we identify several promising programs and policies. More broadly, the CSU Chancellor's Office must work with campuses to evaluate and expand successful efforts, and the state must play a role in supporting new policies to move the needle on graduation gaps and on-time graduation.

blog post

Reducing Tuition Volatility at California’s Universities

By Jacob Jackson

It’s clear that California’s public universities will raise tuition, but it’s not clear when or by how much. History shows that periods of low or no tuition growth are often followed by large increases.

blog post

Testimony: Closing California’s Degree Gap

By Hans Johnson

The most promising approach to closing the workforce skills gap is to concentrate on improving the educational attainment of California residents.

Report

Will California Run Out of College Graduates?

By Hans Johnson, Sarah Bohn, Marisol Cuellar Mejia

California’s higher education system is a critical driver of the state’s economic progress. As the state’s economy continues to change, will its workforce be ready for the jobs of tomorrow?

This report updates and extends projections of California’s workforce skills through 2030, focusing on the supply and demand for workers with a bachelor’s degree. We find that the state will fall about 1.1 million college graduates short of economic demand if current trends persist—a problem we call the workforce skills gap. Even the arrival of highly educated workers from elsewhere is unlikely to be large enough to fill this gap.

Today’s college graduates have better economic outcomes than those who do not hold a bachelor’s degree. Over time, college graduates have seen lower rates of unemployment and higher wages than other workers—even through the Great Recession—suggesting that college degrees have become increasingly valuable in California’s labor market.

The future workforce skills gap looms large. But California and its higher education institutions can take several practical steps to close it. The core of a new plan for higher education should include increasing access to the state’s four-year institutions, improving college completion rates, expanding transfer pathways from community colleges, and being smart about aid programs.

blog post

Online Learning and College Costs

By Hans Johnson, Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Kevin Cook

So far, there is no evidence that online learning is less expensive than face-to-face learning, but it is an important tool for improving access to higher education.

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