Some 1,200 students from Madera County are enrolled at California State University, Fresno, this semester, the university’s president, Joseph I. Castro, told the Madera Evening Lions Club.
“We now have nearly 1,200 students from Madera County at Fresno State and my hope is that the number will continue to increase in the coming years,” Castro said.
“We have record enrollment — 2,400 new students will be expected in the fall.
“Demand has been way up, and that’s a good thing,” Castro said at the Thursday evening meeting.
“That means our K-12 schools are better preparing our young people for college and more of them want to come to places like Fresno State.”
He said that of Madera County students, 72 percent are the first in their families to go to college.
“Nationally for a University like Fresno State those numbers are definitely on the higher side,” said Castro. “The beautiful thing about that is that it means that Fresno State is now starting a whole new legacy of higher education in these families” Said Castro.
The FSU graduation rate has climbed, well above the CSU average statewide, which is about 58 percent. Fresno State’s goal is to increase that number to 70 percent.
“That number seems small,” Castro said, “but CSU has struggled in this way, and one thing I want to change while I’m at Fresno State is to lift that graduation rate up to much higher level. We’ve gone from about 48 percent to now over 58 percent in two years. Our goal is to reach 70 percent by no later than 2023, and then we’ll set a higher goal. Our hope is to get very close to 100 percent one of these days.”
Bulldogs tackle hunger
Castro said some Fresno State students are no strangers to hunger.
On average, a third of college students are missing a meal a day. The Cupboard was a program created in order to provide food to hungry students. In May, he said, the program served 3,000 students.
“I let students know that if you’re here, you’re part of the Bulldog Family; if you need it, take it. The response has been amazing,” said Castro. The Food Bank and Catholic Church have provided donations to this program.