CSU may cut admissions

Elizabeth Smith
News Editor

College-bound students may need to look a little harder to find an affordable school close to home because the California State University system may no longer be an option due to large cuts in admissions.

Faced with an uncertain budget, CSU campuses may be forced to dramatically restrict enrollment to put the schools in a spot where they could better manage a potential additional $200 million cut that could be made in November if a tax initiative to protect funding for public education, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, doesn’t pass.

“Considering that most of my cousins and also my sister go to CSU campuses like San Jose State and Sonoma State, it’s unfortunate that I don’t have that option when I’m looking at schools,” junior Gina Domergue said.

All students who are accepted to a CSU campus in April for entrance in the fall of 2013 will be waitlisted in a move to significantly decrease enrollment. Deferring admissions will affect most of the 23 campuses, which serve about 450,000 students, and all of which adhere to the mission of providing high-quality, affordable education for those in California, according to the Cal State website.

The CSU system, however, no longer has much leeway with its budget after last year’s $750 million budget cut on top of the proposed $200 million cut.

“The decision by the Chancellor’s Office to close admissions for the spring semester at the other campuses is based upon the state budget cuts that the system is facing,” Gina Geck, Associate Director of the Office of Admissions and Student Recruitment at Sonoma State University said. “We have not increased the number of students that we are admitting as a system, however, the state is cutting the funding needed to educate the students.”

Previous attempts to balance the education budget by increasing tuition haven’t done much to solve the problem. The main spike in the increasing costs came in 2009 when tuition shot up from $3,048 to $4,026. The dramatic jumps didn’t stop there, and in 2011, the cost rose from $4,440 to $5,472.

The CSU system has been forced to make a decision about how to provide education for students while keeping in mind the depleted budget.

“In an effort to serve the students that we already have in the best possible way — enough classes, services, et cetera — with the amount of funding we are currently receiving, we have to cut back on the number of new students admitted to the system,” Geck said.

Though the cuts are not set in stone, the potential of not having a CSU campus as an option for applicants is not only devastating but will affect how students apply according to College Counseling Director Rebecca Munda.

“The cuts are really going to hurt middle-class families,” Munda said. “We’ll probably see an increase in students considering public schools out of state because those are at least less expensive than private universities.”

The student body will be cut by 16,000 across the 23 CSU campuses through moves to decrease enrollment. Enrollment for incoming freshman in 2013 is contingent upon upcoming potential budget cuts.

“Our state is in a crisis, and it’s not the system’s fault,” Munda said. “People want to point fingers, but the system is victim to the budget cuts. It’s important that students voice concern to the capital, and parents too — they’re the taxpayers. If they don’t, we probably won’t see much change.”

But these cuts are slicing out more than just spots for students, but may also include cutting off maintenance projects, limiting additions to the library, decreasing student loans and cutting athletic programs.

“It’s been so easy for my sister to get classes she needs for her major so that she can graduate early,” said Domergue. “It’s sad that I won’t get to be a part of that convenient experience because of the cuts to enrollment.”