California State University Expected to Turn Away Up to 15,000 Students Next YearLONG BEACH, Calif.
California State University expects to turn away up to 15,000 new students next year as it faces record enrollment growth and a statewide budget deficit, the chancellor said last month.Chancellor Charles B. Reed told trustees the 23-campus system would follow a no-enrollment growth policy after the legislature said it would not provide funding for new student growth or salary increases.
“There will be some people that will probably hear they will not be admitted, and that’s something we have to deal with,” Reed said during the CSU trustees meeting. The comments came after the trustees agreed to submit a $3 billion annual budget request, which includes a $546.6 million increase in funding over last year. The request also includes the cost to accept new student enrollment growth.
But Reed and the trustees said the budget request was a starting point, and would serve as a tool to convey to legislators and the governor the basic needs of the CSU. “If they don’t understand the base needs, then you have a constantly moving target,” said Trustee William Hauck.
CSU officials also said the system would likely be forced into “emergency mode” if the governor’s proposed $15 billion bond aimed at reducing the state’s debt fails. Enrollment at CSU, the nation’s largest public university system, has reached a record 409,200 students, with officials estimating that number could increase by another 100,000 by 2011. The figures are attributed to people returning to school as jobs are lost to the state’s soft economy as well as growing numbers of children born to baby boomers reaching college age. The situation is complicated by the state’s existing budget deficit, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s staff estimates at $24 billion. Last year, the CSU raised student fees twice — a 40 percent increase — after more than $300 million was slashed from its budget by a record budget deficit. While the CSU enrolls about 125,000 new students — from community-college transfers to high-school graduates — every year, the campuses will not accept next year’s 3 percent projected enrollment growth, Reed said. He told the board that a 1 percent increase in student growth cost the CSU about $24 million.Although the legislature did not ban the CSU from enrolling more students, Reed said the CSU could not afford to pay for it without state support.
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