Matt Weir / The Collegian
Fresno State not likely to accept spring semester enrollment
Fresno State is forced to block spring registration again for the spring 2011 semester until the necessary funds are restored to the university.
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services, Bernard Vinovrski explained the efforts to decrease student enrollment since 2008, all because of the limited budget.
“With the budget crisis over the last years, individual CSU campuses were required to reduce enrollment by 9.5 percent [in 2008], said Vinovrski. We did it incrementally.
Since then, Fresno State has scaled back enrollment by 1000 students every fall semester.
The university is funded in FTES (Full Time Equivalent Student), said Vinovrski. FTES is a system that measures the enrollment in a unversity. “The target for the fall semester was 17,778 [students on the first day of classes],” said Vinovrski. “On the first day, we were at 17,794. There’s obviously students adding and dropping, and people coming in. My best guess, at this point in time, we will be somewhere around 1 to 1.75 [percent] above the target [at the end of the fourth week].”
Pedro Ramirez, a senior and recently elected Associated Students, Inc (ASI) president, said that the over-enrollment would mean the university would have to pay a financial penalty for going over the target put in place by the Chancellor’s Office.
“We’re over-enrolled by a couple hundred students,” Ramirez said. “On campus, you see a lot of new faces. When you’re walking around, you’re seeing a lot of freshman students.”
But according to Vinovrski, the Chancellor’s Office recently gave the university a 2 percent leeway on the enrollment target.
“They gave us that because they asked us if we would open up applications for the spring semester for one month but not make any decision on admission.”
If the campus is above or below the target, it could be adjusted in the spring semester in case the Chancellor’s Office decided to be more strict with the cap, said Vinovrski.
Last spring, new student were not admitted for the semester except for very specific exceptions like credential students and those in certain graduate programs, he said. There were about 150 new students in total.
Today, there is a struggle in the legislation, said Vinovrski. Until a decision is made between the governor’s budget and the state assembly on who will restore the money, they are at an impasse.
But until then, things will stay as is.
“We will not admit any other students for the spring unless we get the funds restored and if there’s enrollment growth,” said Vinovrski. “We just can’t do it.”
Despite the lower enrollment, the average fall student at Fresno State has 12.74 units. Last year, it was 12.96.
Ramirez believes the reason for such a low decrease in the average units is because more students are working and using financial aid in which being a full-time student is a requirement.
Also, Ramirez attributes the decline to the 16 unit registration cap and for equally distributing classes to students.
“As much as I had problems with it and didn’t like it, and a lot of students were frustrated, it does help out a lot of students, especially underclass students.
They need to graduate too, but I’m a senior, I’m going to graduate. I think I should have priority so I can get out to make room for new students. So it’s a double-edged sword.”
Vinovrski hopes they will be able to open spring admissions for new students, even if it is the very small amount they were able to admit last spring. But as soon as the budget is adequately restored, the university will be more open to a broader range of students, like lower division transfers, and those seeking a second bachelor’s degree.
“When we are able to grow, there’s no need to be so restrictive.”