Student success


Since implementing our Student Success Initiative about 15 years ago, the University has reached historic heights in retention and graduation rates. And in 2021, the Board of Governors voted to invest another $9 million to push forward efforts designed to close equity gaps and improve overall rates of student success.

As part of its student success efforts over the years, the university restructured its advising activities and invested heavily in financial aid. Its landmark Colorado Tuition Assistance Grant (CTAG) provides need-based aid to low- and middle-income students based on the student and family’s income. More than 4,700 CSU Fort Collins students earn the grant every year. In all, the program has disbursed around $180 million to about 21,000 Colorado students. Overall, 60% of CSU students receive some kind of grant and scholarship aid from CSU, federal, state, and local sources (not including federal student loans).

The $9 million in new resources for the campus is supporting increased financial aid for rural and lower-income students; further development of data tools to analyze and inform student success decision making; investments in academic and co-curricular improvements to support marginalized populations, faculty professional development, academic enrichment, and targeted interventions at the college and department level; and more.

In recent years, CSU’s diversity and graduation rates have risen consistently. In 2020-2021, 24% of graduating students (1,268 out of 5,371 graduates) were minoritized – up from 12% in 2011-12. In 2021, the campus recorded the highest number ever of racially minoritized and first-generation students earning degrees.

More on student success by the numbers:

  • $52,000 is the average starting salary of a CSU graduate
  • 7% retention rate of freshmen who return for their sophomore year, and a 78.5% first-generation student retention rate
  • 17:1 student to faculty ratio
  • CSU grads are employed in 50 states and more than 50 countries, and/or are enrolled in more than 200 graduate programs across the country and world
  • 86% of employed CSU grads landed jobs related to their career plans

Learn more about the wide range of student success programs and initiatives at CSU: