With today the deadline for applying for admission to many of California's state colleges, admissions are becoming increasingly selective in the face of a record number of applications so far this fall and a system-wide mandate to shrink the student body by 40,000.
The state has cut CSU's budget by $564 million this fiscal year, making it impossible for the school to educate the same number of students, Chancellor Charles Reed said in a telephone news conference.
The school cut about 4,000 students from its enrollment this fall, and plans a reduction of 6,000 more students in the spring 2010 semester, in part by closing enrollment to transfer students. CSU must reduce its enrollment by 40,000 in order to operate within the reduced budget, he said.
However, the school's shrinking pool of resources has not dampened Californians' desire to attend. The system began accepting applications for the coming school year on Oct. 1 and has since received more than 266,000 applications, he said. Preliminary numbers show a 53 percent increase compared to the same time last year.
This includes 145,000 applications for first-time freshmen, up 32 percent, and 88,000 from potential community college transfer students, a 127 percent jump.
"It's the largest increase in applications we have ever received," Reed said.
The system will accept applications through tomorrow, Nov. 30, Reed said. About eight of CSU's campuses may continue receiving applications another four to six weeks, he said.
Balancing this increased demand with shrinking class size means campuses are imposing additional requirements and restrictions on students' admission, Reed said.
CSU campuses will give first priority to students in the school's service area, Reed said. Students who submit applications on time and meet admissions criteria should be admitted to their area campus.
University staff has been communicating with high schools and community colleges, and using social media services like Twitter, to urge potential students to submit their applications on time and well ahead of the deadline.