California State System May Turn Eligible Students Away

The system faces a $66.3 million state budget cut and might restrict enrollment for the first time.

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For the first time in its history, the California State University system might turn eligible students away from its 23 campuses because of a worsening budget problem, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. CSU chancellor Charles Reed proposed the plan, which is a response to an expected midyear $66.3 million cut from the state announced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week. The system has already seen $31.3 million in cuts this year.

Traditionally, the CSU system—the largest four-year university program in the country—would have placed every eligible student (based on GPA and test scores) onto one of its campuses. Now, it plans to cap enrollment to about 343,000 full-time students. Enrollment has hovered around 400,000 the past several years. Preferential admission would be given to freshmen within each campus's local community as well as to transfer students from nearby community colleges. Military veterans will also be guaranteed enrollment.

Another approach to cap enrollment would be to make application deadlines earlier. At state university campuses already considered full such as those at San Diego and Long Beach, next year's application period will end November 30. At other campuses, the application period will end March 1.

This tactic allowed CSU to turn away 10,000 eligible students this year, while individual campuses have already made eligibility requirements more stringent by raising GPA minimums higher or restricting transfer students from entering in the spring.