Jolene Koester


Cutting the Higher Education Graduation Gap in Half

Getting "super-seniors" to finish and ensuring that incoming freshmen graduate has to be a central focus of the nation's colleges.

Figuring out how to say goodbye to our college students may seem counterintuitive when it’s only December, but with shrinking resources and a growing demand for graduates to fill high-skill jobs, colleges can no longer afford "super-seniors"—students with a surplus of credit hours in the wrong combination to graduate. And we can no longer afford students who drop out after their first year.

In my 11-plus years as president of California State University at Northridge, I've given a lot of thought to life transitions and tendencies to cling to what’s comfortable. Nudging super-seniors to finish and ensuring that incoming freshmen persist to graduation is a central focus at our university. If that’s not our end game, we are failing students and higher education’s role in our nation’s competitiveness.

Keep ReadingShow less