Why We Need Metro
California is currently 50th out of 50 states in the percentage of African American and Latino students who complete a bachelor’s degree relative to their percent in the overall population. Although college enrollment rates have risen over the past three decades, the rate of degree completion has not improved since 1972. Nationally, the gap in college completion rates between low-income and more affluent students has doubled since 1975.
In California’s community colleges, 78 percent of degree seekers overall do not complete a two-year degree or transfer to a four-year college within six years of starting. For African American degree seekers, 85 percent never complete; for Latino/a degree seekers, 82 percent never complete.
If current trends continue, within fifteen years California will have a shortfall of one million people with bachelor’s degrees, threatening the economic, democratic and cultural vibrancy of the nation’s most diverse and populous state.
Major barriers to college success for low-income, underrepresented or first-generation students include:
- Lack of academic support so that students bog down in long sequences of remedial classes or are unable to pass gateway classes
- An overly complicated transfer process from community college to universities
- Lack of guidance and encouragement
With this, large numbers of students waste time, money and educational resources taking courses that count for nothing towards graduation. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the average community college transfer student graduates from the Cal State University with162 units, when only 120 are required. If this process of ‘churning’ could be curtailed, the community college system could serve an additional 40,000 students and the CSU an additional 14,000 students—a cost that would otherwise cost California approximately 160 million each year.
Overall, postsecondary education needs a fundamental redesign.
The Metro Academy of Health at SF State is our most mature program. Metro helps students build momentum because 100% of core classes satisfy graduation requirements for associate's and bachelor's degrees—regardless of whether classes are taken at a community college or university. Metro puts students on a clear, fast track to graduation and success.