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Chico State

CSU, Chico Named to List of Nation’s Most Transformative Colleges

The concrete arches in front of a building bask in the early morning sunlight.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

The arches of Laxson Auditorium on Thursday, August 15, 2019 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU Chico)

Obtaining a college degree is often a transformative experience, as graduates enter the workforce with new opportunities to improve their lives and those of their families. This week, California State University, Chico was recognized for its success in transforming the lives of its students and graduates.

CEOWorld Magazine released its list of “Most Transformative Colleges in the United States for 2019,” where CSU, Chico was ranked at No. 20.

Kim Guanzon, the University’s director of Admissions, said the University works mindfully at supporting students and getting them to graduation, while also fostering personal growth.

“The hands-on opportunities and team-focused learning received at CSU, Chico place our students as front-runners for some of the most competitive jobs out there,” Guanzon said.

In compiling the schools on its list, CEO World Magazine looked at factors like graduation rates, earnings and student loan repayment. Additionally, the Most Transformative Colleges list ranked institutions based on their “value add” scores, an indicator “which signifies when an institution’s graduates perform better than would be expected based on their academic and background.”

CSU, Chico prides itself on its support of low-income and underrepresented students, and opportunities for social mobility. This summer, the University’s regional accrediting body, the WASC Senior College and University Commission, commended CSU, Chico for its reductions in achievement gaps.

More than 50 percent of the University’s students are first-generation, and will be the first in their family to complete a four-year degree. Additionally, through programs such as the Educational Opportunity Program, Summer Bridge, and the new Student Transition and Retention (STAR) Center, CSU, Chico works to ensure all students have the academic and personal resources they need to reach graduation and excel in their chosen fields.

Malcolm McLemore, interim associate director of the STAR Center, said that a higher number of historically underserved students are stepping onto college campuses, not fully understanding their collegiate trajectory, nor the abundance of campus resources available to help them navigate it.

“The STAR Center is an opportunity to extend Chico State’s ability to reach students most in need,” he said. “When we are able to help students see what is possible in the classroom, in the community, and for their future, we increase the probability of their success.”

McLemore added that the STAR Center’s most important guiding principle is that “possibility promotes probability.”

Additionally, since the University’s designation as a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2015, CSU, Chico has won more than $6 million in grants to support historically underrepresented students. One of those grants supports the Chico Stem Connections Collaborative, where students are provided with an array of services and opportunities to conduct real-world research that make them leading contenders for jobs in their chosen fields.

More than half of the top 20 schools on the list are from the CSU system, including Cal State Stanislaus State (No. 5); CSUN (No. 7); San José State (No. 8); CSU, Channel Islands (No. 9); Fresno State (No. 11); Cal State Long Beach (No. 12); Cal Poly Pomona (No. 14); CSU, Monterey Bay (No. 16); Cal State Fullerton (No. 17); and Cal State San Bernardino (No. 19).

CSU, Chico continues to be recognized for its excellence, and was included on Money magazine’s “2019–20 Best Colleges in America” list earlier this month. Additionally, the University has received honors from national publications like Money magazine, Forbes magazine, and US News and World Report. In the last year alone, the University has been recognized for its distinction in upward mobility following graduationregional excellence, and sustainable practices, as well as its individual programs, like the College of Business and its MBA program, its School of Nursing and Study Abroad.