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CSU plans to drastically restrict enrollment for spring 2013

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MARCH 20, 2012

The California State University plans to accept no new students at most of its campuses for the spring 2013 semester and place all fall 2013 applicants on a waitlist, a top CSU administrator said Monday.

According to Robert Turnage, the CSU assistant vice chancellor for budget, the plan would close all but eight of the 23 CSU campuses to enrollment in spring 2013 and only allow students on a transfer path from community college to enroll in the San Francisco, East Bay, Sonoma, Channel Islands, Chico, Fullerton, Los Angeles and San Bernardino campuses.

The plan will be presented to the CSU Board of Trustees at its meeting in Long Beach on Tuesday, though the board’s approval is not needed for decisions about enrollment.

UC spokesperson Dianne Klein said she does not think the UC will make similar cuts.

The decision comes after the university was dealt $750 million in state budget cuts this past year. If Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative is rejected by voters in November, the CSU will face a $200 million cut this year, according to the budget plan Brown announced in January. The UC’s budget was slashed the same amount last year and faces the same funding reductions as the CSU this year if Brown’s initiative does not pass.

Turnage said the decision comes as a result of discussions within the CSU system following the announcement of Brown’s budget plan in January.

“Our enrollment across our system is above the level that it needs to be even on the basis of the $750 million cut we took,” Turnage said. “We’re on too high of a glide path, and we’ve got to bring those numbers down.”

Turnage added that all students applying for admission in the 2013-14 academic year will be placed on a waitlist until after the November state elections, pending the results of Brown’s proposed tax initiative. Students will be notified of their acceptance after the outcome of the election is known.

“Once we admit them, we’re committed,” Turnage said. “Once they arrive, we’re committed for multiple years.”

Closing admissions for a semester has been employed by the CSU system before. Admissions for the spring 2010 semester were closed after $584 million in state cuts were given to the university that year.

Gregory Washington, president of the California State Student Association, said he finds the proposal problematic and feels that it could discourage students from seeking a higher education.

“It’s something that’s going to affect many thousands of students and it’s not the direction we want our system and higher education in California going in,” Washington said. “Students are given a set of guidelines and goals when they’re in high school telling them what they need to do to go to college and now our state isn’t acknowledging that anymore.”

Jamie Applegate covers higher education.

MARCH 20, 2012

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