The California State University today released preliminary systemwide data for the upcoming fall term indicating all-time highs in applications, and a year-over-year increase in the number of students admitted.
Despite the increasing level of demand by first-time freshmen and transfer students who applied to the fall 2011 term, CSU admissions and enrollment will be limited by massive reductions in state funding. The CSU expects to enroll approximately 25 percent of the resident first-time freshmen admitted (56,000) and roughly 50 percent of the resident transfer students admitted (45,000).
The CSU estimates that 97 percent of the enrolling freshman class and 96 percent of enrolling undergraduate transfer students will be California residents.
CSU campuses continue to review and admit additional students as the current academic year comes to a close and transcripts are received.
Overall, admissions increased by over 30,000 from last year with increases in the number of African American (1,250) and Hispanic (17,000) students admitted.
For fall 2011, the CSU actually admitted more qualified students than in the fall 2010 term. However, the growth follows two years of steep enrollment declines due to budget cuts.
In fall 2010, the CSU admitted 196,109 first-time freshmen, the lowest total since 2005. This fall’s admitted first-time freshmen total of 221,868 is limited by a $500 million cut in state support for the CSU.
The system estimates that 10,000 additional new students could be enrolled if the CSU received the same funding as in the current fiscal year.
Next year’s budget will reduce CSU state support to approximately the same level as in 1999-2000 despite the university now serving 70,000 more students.
The reduction of $500 million represents a best case scenario for the CSU as proposed cuts could be far greater if the state passes an “all-cuts” budget.
Further reduction in state support would force the CSU to consider drastic cost-cutting measures including closing admissions, reducing classes and course offerings, increasing tuition, eliminating programs and services and reducing workforce among other options.
For the past several years, unpredictable funding from the state has created volatility in the CSU’s admissions and enrollment cycles. The CSU was forced to close admissions for the spring 2010 term due to budget cuts, but the CSU received funding for enrollment growth in the current budget.
However, the final budget was passed 100 days late and this created a scenario in which the CSU made a push to enroll almost 40,000 new students in one semester (spring 2011) to reach enrollment targets as laid out in the budget allocation.
Students enrolling in the spring are predominantly transfers and the CSU enrolled 18,526 new transfers and 1,468 first-time freshmen in the spring 2011 term.