By Vivian Ramirez
With the possibility of a $200 million budget cut pending the tax initiative in the November elections, California State Universities may shut their doors to new students for the Spring 2013 semester and create a wait list of applicants for Fall 2013. The CSU system will turn down an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 student applicants for the 2012-13 school year. But freezing Spring enrollment at many campuses is only one of the methods to achieve these numbers.
Only eight CSU campuses: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Fullerton, Sonoma, San Francisco, Channel Islands, East Bay, and Chico will accept community college applicants who have completed the Associate Degree for Transfer recently passed in Senate Bill 1440. The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB 1440) was passed in 2010 and created the Associate in Arts Degree for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science Degree for Transfer (AS-T). Under the law, community colleges are required to offer these transfer degrees once a student has met general education and major requirements for the degree.
Additionally, students obtaining these degrees will be eligible for guaranteed transfer to the CSU system with junior standing. AA-T and AA-S transfers are given priority consideration for CSUprograms that were similar to a student’s community college major. SB 1440 also prohibits CSUs from asking students to repeat courses completed in community college. It is projected that these “for transfer” degrees will be more in demand if enrollment become exclusive to these applicants.
In addition to possibly cutting admission, CSUs will also lay off employees, reduce the number of courses offered, and eliminate certain academic programs. CSUs have already taken a heavy hit to their funding, as an estimated $1 billion has been cut from their budget in the last four years. In response to this cut, tuition has skyrocketed and has only made up about half of the lost money. Despite the tuition hikes, increased classroom sizes and reduction of its workforce, CSU officials warn that such additional changes are necessary.
All of these decisions are dependent on the proposed tax raises from the governor that will be voted on this November. However, the CSU system is preparing for the worst-case scenario with or without results from the election. Budget cuts and reduced student enrollment aren’t the only measures from the governor that will affect CSU students. Additional qualifications and a heightened GPA requirement for Cal Grants will also affect an estimated 8,000 newly-enrolled students in the CSU system.
These additional requirements, while enacted to meet budget deficiencies, might affect community college students in the long run. With the number of accepted students going down and the cost of tuition rising with GPA qualifications, many students might find themselves at East Los Angeles College much longer than they might have originally planned.