Ryan Chartrand

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was busier than ever last school year signing bachelor’s and master’s degrees for students in the California State University system.

A total of 87,680 students were awarded degrees from CSU campuses in 2005-06, a new report says. This is 3,692 more degrees awarded than in the 2004-05 school year.

“The increasing number of graduates is a reflection of rather dramatic influx of new students four to five years ago,” said Jim Blackburn, CSU associate director for enrollment management services. “Starting in the late 1990s we saw the beginning trend of more students entering the educational system in general-now these people are graduating.”

Bachelor’s degrees saw the largest boost, going from 66,768 to 69,350, a four percent increase. Women were awarded nearly 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, or 41,152, and made up nearly 63 percent of all master’s degrees awarded.

“It is a reflection of the CSU student bodies-all but three CSU campuses (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Maritime) have a female majority. It has to do with the choices students make after graduating from high school,” Blackburn said.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona, and Cal Maritime have degrees that focus heavily in engineering, which attracts male students more than females, Blackburn said. The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student body is 56 percent male and 44 percent female.

The CSU system produces 65 percent of California’s graduates in business and professional services each year. The most popular bachelor’s degree in 2005-06 was business and management, with more than one out of five graduating students earning a degree in the field. At the master’s level, nearly a third of all degrees were focused in education. Business and management remained second, with one out of eight students earning a master’s degree in the field.

“Having people well trained in business and management is important for California’s economy,” Blackburn said. “All 23 CSU campuses offer business degrees. The demand is so high with accounting majors some programs almost cannot turn them out fast enough.”

The report shows that the ethnic diversity of bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees increased sharply across the board, with Asian Americans and Latinos showing the largest increase. Ethnic groups in the CSU system mirror the demographics of the state at large, the report says.

The report also shows that nearly a third of all graduates in 2005-06 were between 25 and 29 years old.

“The average age of CSU students approach 27 and 28 years old. Many CSU students are in their mid-20s, work 30 hours a week, while going to school,” Blackburn said.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has a more “traditional age group” according to Blackburn, with a majority of students falling between 18 and 24 years old. According to a 2005 statistic, the average Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student is 21 years old.

The CSU is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 405,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees.

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