FAQs

1. What is California Promise?

A: California Promise is a program in which students who complete an Associate Degree for Transfer [ADT] at a California Community College are guaranteed, when they enroll in a CSU, a two–year path to graduation in a major program deemed “similar” to their ADT degree program. Students’ Associate Degree transcripts are evaluated by Enrollment Services to determine eligibility for the program; faculty advisors are not tasked with determining eligibility. The program includes obligations Stan State must meet to support this group of students on their two–year path to graduation, and it also includes obligations students must meet to remain eligible for the program throughout the two–year cycle.  
Obligations that Stan State meets for students in the CA Promise program:

  • Offering sufficient coursework over the two–year period to support the full graduation path
  • Offering academic advising for students in the program, regardless of major (your department will establish its own procedures for advising in CA Promise)
  • Providing a concrete, documented plan for courses for each upcoming semester during the advising meeting; STAN Planner is the optimal tool for this documentation, but a digital alternative is to use the Advising Notes space in the student’s Student Center.
  • Offering registration priority, which we give CA Promise students (once sorted by total units earned in the usual manner) on the second pass of our two–pass registration system

Obligations that students meet to remain eligible in the program:

  • Signing the CA Promise Pledge Agreement (pdf)
  • Earning 30 units per year toward graduation
  • Using STAN Planner [see Question 4 below], in conjunction with the faculty advisor, to plan intended coursework

Additional information can be found on the Advising Resources page

2. What is the Graduation Initiative (sometimes known as “On–the–Cusp Advising”)?

A: Students whose prospective graduation date would fall within a four–year window (when matriculating directly after high school) or a two–year window (when matriculating after a transfer from a community college) are identified by the Provost’s office and Enrollment Services if they would not graduate in that window because their current progress forecasts their falling short of the 120–unit total, or of any other necessary graduation requirements. Students identified in this manner are then reviewed in more detail by faculty advisors in their major programs to determine whether measures of additional support from the university would, potentially, make a positive difference in helping students achieve their graduation goals. The measures of additional support currently utilized are:

  • Intensive Advising, in which faculty advisors begin regular meetings with “On the Cusp” students earlier in each registration than is customary, such as in mid–September, to support their choices of appropriate Winter, Spring and Summer registration for courses.
  • Eligibility for tuition waivers for Winter and/or Summer coursework, as determined by the Provost’s office.
  • In order to remain eligible for Intensive Advising and, most meaningful from their perspective, a tuition waiver, students must use STAN Planner [see Question 4 below], in conjunction with the faculty advisor, to plan intended coursework

See Timelines and procedures

3. What is My Academic Pathway?

A: My Academic Pathway is a suite of online tools for planning and tracking coursework, available to all students as well as advisors through links on the student’s record in myStanState. It includes STAN Planner [described below in Question 4], STAN Scheduler [described below in Question 5], and STAN Degree Progress [described below in Question 6].

4. What is STAN Planner?

A: STAN Planner is an online tool that allows students to plan their prospective course pattern several semesters in advance, up to their entire planned degree program. Students as well as advisors can use this tool by logging in to myStanState, then selecting the individual student’s academic record and clicking on the link for STAN Planner.

The first time any person clicks on STAN Planner, the tool will use the student’s on–record declaration of a major program, and an analysis of all coursework completed to that point, to generate a “path toward degree” that defaults to 15 units per semester and that plans for as many Fall and Spring semesters as necessary to complete all degree requirements. The defaults for units per semester can be changed by the user, as can the sequence of courses. The initial “path toward degree” is generated based on a sequence of courses that most closely aligns with the Advising Roadmap provided for that major, modified by any coursework already completed or in progress in the student’s current record.

Those who have not yet declared a major will not be able to use STAN Planner. Students completing a major that requires selection of a specific concentration or track will need to select that track the first time they (or their advisor) uses STAN Planner. Trainings are available for STAN Planner users through the Academic Success Center; please consult the Calendar of Events on this website or contact the Faculty Director for Advising and Learning Cohorts to arrange a training session.

Additional information (pdf)

5. What is STAN Scheduler?

A: STAN Scheduler is an online tool that allows students to plan their next semester of coursework prior to registering. The tool allows students to adjust prospective courses based on a variety of user–generated constraints, giving the user an opportunity to examine multiple possible scheduling combinations prior to registration.

Students as well as advisors can use this tool by logging in to myStanState, then selecting the individual student’s academic record and clicking on the link for STAN Scheduler.

STAN Scheduler integrates with STAN Planner, allowing users to “flow” their existing STAN Planner slate of courses for the upcoming semester into STAN Scheduler as an initial option once the official schedule is posted.

6. What is STAN Degree Progress?

A: STAN Degree Progress tracks a student’s progress toward the chosen degree program, including all degree requirements and considering all coursework officially accepted for transfer by Enrollment Services from other institutions at the time of the viewing. Students as well as advisors can use this tool by logging in to myStanState, then selecting the individual student’s academic record and clicking on the link for STAN Degree Progress.

The information in STAN Degree Progress is identical in form to the information previously available under the Degree Requirements drop–down menu in myStanState.

7. How do students declare a major or minor, and what role do I play in that process as a faculty member?

A: Students complete the form linked here and submit the form to Enrollment Services. One component of the form is a signature line for New Department Approval; your particular department procedure may require a major advisor, an administrative coordinator, or the department chair to sign on this line. Each department then follows its own subsequent procedures for tracking and supporting majors and minors, which may include mandatory advising, assigned advisors, and so on. Degree Objective.pdf

8. By what point must students declare a major?

A: Students cannot be evaluated, nor approved for graduation, prior to declaring a major. The university recommends that a student apply for graduation once s/he has earned 90 units; however, the university recommends that a student declare a major once s/he has earned 60 units.

9. How and when may students change their major?

A: A Student completes the form linked here and brings the form to her/his previous major department (if changing their major), then to the new major department, for signatures. Once the form has been signed, the student brings the form to Enrollment Services.

Students may declare or change their major at any point prior to applying for graduation; a change of major subsequent to the graduation application requires reapplying for graduation (and includes a reapplication fee beyond the ordinary graduation application fee).

10. How often are students required to meet with me in my role as an advisor?

A: This varies by department and is based on departmental policy and procedure. One important policy affecting student registration that many departments have adopted is termed “mandatory advising,” which means that students completing declared majors in that department have an Advising Hold placed on their accounts each term that prevents them from registering for classes until the hold is released by an advisor; typically, this hold release happens when an advisor has communicated with the student and offered advice about upcoming registration.

To release a student’s advising hold, when in any home screen in the My Academic Pathway system [see Question 3 above], look for the red slashed circle icon in the upper portion of the screen. Clicking on this icon will take you to a page with a file electronically listing all holds currently on the student’s account. The one pertinent to mandatory academic advising, which you can release, reads RAR; click on the RAR hold, select the button that reads “Release” on the next screen, and click “OK” on the subsequent screen.

11. Do faculty advisors address General Education questions, or do we only engage questions about a major or minor in our area of expertise?

A: Faculty advisors may give advice in any area of curriculum in which students request support; however, if you plan to offer advice to students about their General Education requirements, you should routinely (re)educate yourself about GE requirements and course offerings, as students often utilize coursework completed at other institutions for GE credit and as GE course offerings at Stan State change frequently. Two excellent tools to help you support students if you plan to offer advice on GE coursework are STAN Planner, which tracks both completed and outstanding requirements as soon as these have been processed by Enrollment Services, and STAN Degree Progress, which offers even more comprehensive information about courses accepted for transfer credit as well as a record of the nuances of GE requirements and placements as they apply to each individual student.

12. How and when do students apply for graduation?

A: Students complete the form linked here and submit, with payment, to Enrollment Services. Evaluators in that office then analyze the student’s academic record and complete a Graduation Approval Form, which is mailed to the student’s home address (depending on the time of year, this may take several weeks or even a couple of months) and which requires the student to route the form to major and minor departments for completion as well as signature approvals. The university recommends that students apply for graduation at or near the start of the term in which they exceed 90 units.

13. How do I complete the Graduation Approval Form [GAF] as a faculty advisor?

A: [1] Your department procedure will determine whether you should complete the GAF while meeting with the student or, instead, on your own time prior to meeting with the student; however, note that the student must sign the form prior to its review by the department chair, so ensure that you allow time to meet with the student and discuss your review of the GAF at some point in the process.

[2] If you are a minor advisor, you should complete the form first; if you are a major advisor assigned to complete the GAF in that role (department procedure will determine this), you should first ensure that the minor advisor has reviewed, completed and signed the GAF if the student has a minor.

The elements of the form you should review first are in the box near the top of the first page; they include information about the student’s declared major and minor program(s), the track/concentration the student is formally completing within the major and minor program(s), the last term for which coursework was counted by the Evaluator (usually the term immediately before the student applied for graduation) and the catalogue year associated with the student’s term of entry. These four elements allow you to establish which requirements and which completed coursework the Evaluator used to complete her/his review of the student’s academic record. Note that because major and minor programs change over time, the catalogue year may be important in determining how you should complete and review the form as an advisor in the major or minor program.


[4] Once you have determined which requirements fit the degree program in which you advise, you should review the second page of the GAF (somewhat misleadingly titled Evaluation of Transfer Credit, as it includes both transferred and Stan State coursework), on which the Evaluator will have described all coursework in the student’s academic record that was counted toward graduation—including GE requirements (on the left–hand side of the page) and major or minor program requirements (on the right–hand side of the page). Remember that this may not include more recent coursework taken at Stan State or more recent coursework transferred in from another institution; these lists of courses will only include coursework completed by the date of review noted at the top of the first page. Reviewing the Evaluation of Transfer Credit page allows you to determine which coursework the Evaluator has applied to all degree requirements; in a few cases, you may find a discrepancy between the Evaluator’s review of the student’s record on this page and your own review of the student’s record, and if you do, you should note that for yourself in preparation for your return to the first page because you may need to contact the Evaluator prior to completing the GAF.

[5] You are now prepared to complete the GAF, which requires you to write down (in the box on the lower right, and on additional pages if necessary) all coursework the student will complete after the review date listed at the top of the first page in order to meet all graduation requirements. In doing so, you should cross-check the unit count totals for that present/future planned coursework to ensure that they meet (or exceed) the unit totals listed on the middle of the first page next to each graduation requirement. Remember that these listed unit totals were calculated based on the Evaluator’s review on the Evaluation of Transfer Credit page. Remember that if you are a minor advisor, you should include only coursework related to completing minor requirements, while if you are a major advisor, you should include coursework relating to the completing of major requirements and any other outstanding graduation requirements, even those outside the major program (such as GE requirements, residency requirements, the WP requirement and/or units toward 120 total).


[6] If you are a minor advisor completing the GAF, once you have listed all planned coursework the student intends to complete after the review date on the first page and cross-checked the unit counts for this planned coursework to ensure that they meet or exceed the unit counts next to the minor graduation requirement, you should review this coursework list with the student. The student should acknowledge that this is indeed the appropriate coursework plan for the minor she/he seeks. This acknowledgment should then be affirmed with your signature as well as the student’s signature, and the GAF should be returned to the student for consultation with faculty in the major program.

[7] If you are a major advisor completing the GAF, once you have listed all planned coursework the student intends to complete after the review date on the first page and cross-checked the unit counts for this planned coursework to ensure that they meet or exceed the unit counts next to each graduation requirement, you should review this coursework list with the student. The student should acknowledge that this is indeed the appropriate coursework plan for the major she/he seeks. This acknowledgment should then be affirmed with your signature as well as the student’s signature, and the GAF should be routed to your department chair for review and approval in accordance with the procedures established in your department.

14. How do a students’ catalogue rights work?

A: A student’s program and degree requirements are those that were the catalogue requirements of record when the student first matriculated at either Stan State or at a community college with which we have established articulation agreements pertaining to graduation (usually a local community college). However, the student may alternatively elect to complete, if these differ, the catalogue requirements of record at the time she/he applies for graduation. Catalogue requirements must be met as a whole; i.e., students may not choose among distinct requirements from multiple catalogue years to count toward credit for one single program.

15. How many units may be cross–counted between one program and another when calculating requirements met toward graduation?

A: For any case of students graduating with multiple degree programs (e.g., two majors, or a major and a minor), the maximum number of units that may be counted toward any single degree program that are also counting toward another (i.e., “cross–counted”) is one unit less than 50% of that program’s total number of required upper-division units. There are no university–mandated limits on cross–counting lower-division units.

16. How many units of General Education coursework may also be counted in a major or minor?

A: Coursework in GE may also be counted toward any program without limitations.

17. How can I grant a student an exception to the 120 units needed for graduation?

A: No one may grant this exception; it is a system-level requirement maintained by the Chancellor’s Office.

18. How can I grant a student an exception to major or minor requirements?

A: In consultation with your Department Chair, an area on the right–hand side in the middle of the first page of the Graduation Approval Form [GAF] provides space for you as a Faculty Advisor to note exceptions you grant to major or minor requirements. If you grant such an exception prior to the GAF, the best practice is to keep a written record of this exception in the student’s file as documentation.

19. How can I grant a student an exception to a General Education requirement?

A: Students complete the form, which must be routed through the appropriate signatory offices (the student’s major program and the Academic Success Center). Both of these signatory offices share responsibility for determining whether and why such an exception should be granted.

20. How can I give advice about financial aid requirements and policies?

A: Best practices for academic advising strongly recommend that students always be directed to a financial aid counselor for all questions related to financial aid; faculty advisors serve students most effectively when we emphasize the importance of financial aid counseling services but do not attempt to give advice in this area.