SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Nearly 70 percent of community college freshmen in California drop out of their 2-year colleges without earning an associates degree or transferring, frustrated when they’re shut out of classes they need.

But almost every student participating in a pilot program at San Francisco City College program that gives recent high school graduates the same registration priority as continuing students stayed for a second semester.

“Students who started with us a year ago, when they signed up for second semester, about 95 percent of them are still with us,” said Chancellor Don Griffin.

KCBS’ Rebecca Corral Reports:

Younger students impatient with a slow system often don’t stick around. Griffin said the college typically has a 40 to 50 percent retention rate for first-year students coming straight from high school.

The program, being watched by the rest of the state’s community colleges, hinges on the idea that younger students need to complete their core courses quickly before other responsibilities distract them from education as a priority.

“Make sure that while students are in that 18 to 26 age range, that they are getting the courses they need,” he said.

“Once they get out of that age range, it’s more difficult for them, with all the other responsibilities that they have.”

Griffin said the next phase of the pilot this fall will extend the same registration priority to all 1,300 students graduating from the San Francisco Unified School District.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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