As the two-month priority application period closed Nov. 30, the California State University system received approximately 609,000 applications for first-time freshmen and undergraduate transfer students, according to a CSU spokesperson.
“It’s a record-breaking number that we have seen,” said media relations specialist Erik Fallis in a telephone interview. “It was a large group, and we were expecting a large number. So, it’s fairly unprecedented.”
Applications submitted throughout the priority application period of Oct.1 to Nov. 30 increased by 28 percent this year. Submissions from transfer students increased 87 percent from last year with 195,113 applications received. A total of 412,173 first-time freshmen applications were received, up by 12 percent from last year.
According to a CSU press release, 73,680 applications were received on Nov. 30 alone, with 10,000 applications flooding in between the hours of 10 and 11 p.m.
Most campuses closed the application window as of Nov. 30, Fallis said, which means that first-time freshmen and transfer students have very limited options after the closing date. However, he added that all applications received before the Nov. 30 deadline will be reviewed for fall 2010.
The figures represent the number of applications, not applicants, Fallis said. With students applying to multiple campuses, the CSU received an average of 2.7 applications per person, but each application is counted separately.
Fallis said the large number of applications demonstrates a high demand for a CSU education. He also attributed effective communication between the CSU and local high schools and community colleges for encouraging students to apply early and have a backup plan.
“We saw a lot of evidence of that message getting out there,” Fallis said. “One being that we saw increases amongst all the different communities in California. And so we’ve seen an increase in African American, Latino and Native American prospective students.”
California State University, Fresno received a record 14,478 first-time freshmen applications, up 10 percent from last year, said Bernie Vinovrski, associate vice president for enrollment. Another 5,486 upper division transfer applications came in to Fresno State during the application period, an increase of 30 percent from last year.
The admissions office was closed during the Thanksgiving holiday, and for furlough days on Nov. 25 and 30, Vinovrski said. The office staff returned Dec. 1 to 3,400 applications that had arrived during the last week. It took three days to download the last of the applications to PeopleSoft, he said.
Within the first few weeks of the application cycle, the university received 30 to 40 percent more applications than at the same time last year, Vinovrski said.
He said local students were applying earlier, which meant fewer applications flooding the admissions office at the last minute.
So far, nearly half of the prospective students who applied in the priority filing period have been notified of their acceptance, and the remaining applications should be completed by Jan. 15, Vinovrski said.
Because of its impacted status – meaning the campus has more applications received in the initial filing period than can be accommodated – Fresno State is only accepting 8,800 first-time freshmen for fall 2010. The 23-campus CSU system announced earlier that it was not accepting transfer students for the spring 2010 semester, so the large increase in transfer applications for fall 2010 was no surprise, Vinovrski said.
“Even though there’s been an increase in costs, relatively speaking, it’s still one of the best buys for higher ed for a four year institution,” Vinovrski said of the CSU.