Sac State increases graduation rates by 127%

‘Finish in Four,’ ‘Through in Two’ said to have influenced growth


Emily Rabasto

Graduating Sac State students watch themselves on a giant screen inside the Golden 1 Center during commencement on May 18, 2018. Sac State President Robert Nelsen announced Tuesday that commencement ceremonies are postponed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Savannah Solley

Sacramento State has jumped to No. 13 in graduation rates of the 23 California State Universities, up from No. 22 in 2016. 

According to the office of University Initiatives and Student Success, the number of graduates increased by 127% from 2016 to this year. Sac State’s four-year graduation rate in 2016 was 8.8% and rose to 20.4% in 2019, according to Sac State University Communications

The university said that the Finish in Four and Through in Two programs are the reasons for the improved graduation rates. The increase has occurred throughout all student groups, regardless of race, sex, or family education history, according to the article.

“I have noticed a drastic increase in students graduating on time,” said Kasandra Ryan, a senior child development major. “It is very rare I hear that it’s taken someone longer than four years to graduate.” 

Sac State also said that students who graduated in 2019 in four years, as opposed to six, saved a combined $58 million. 

“(That number) is calculated in terms of their cost of living and money that they could have received by starting a career earlier and also grants along the way as well,” said Jim Dragna, director of University Initiatives and Student Success.

Finish in Four was implemented three years ago as part of the “Graduation Initiative 2025” to increase graduation rates. Through Finish in Four,  students make a pledge to take 15 units each semester or a total of 30 units each year counting intersessions. 

“I do feel like Sac State has given me the tools to graduate in four years,” said Tea Hartness, a junior majoring in communication studies. “It has given me the tools inside and outside of the classroom, all in only four years.”

Sac State has also worked to improve graduation rates by adding needed classes, more academic counselors, more school grants and online platforms such as the Keys to Degree Toolbox and Smart Planner to help students stay on track while registering for classes. 

“We have also hired in the last three years 117 new faculty as well in order to meet that demand and to move that forward,” Dragna said.

“Through in Two” was made to help transfer students coming to Sac State. Being a part of this program, which has the same unit requirements as Finish in Four, gives transfer students benefits including priority registration, school grants, access to advisors and the Sac State Rewards Program providing more incentives through different types of vouchers and discounts on-campus amenities, according to Sac State’s website

Yusuf Can, a political science major, said that his major should take five years due to the importance of the subject matter.

“I personally don’t have a problem with finishing in four years, but I don’t think it’s a good thing to ask from students in general, or professors for that matter,” Can said. “University is not simply about graduating and getting a diploma.”