CSU applications reach half million

Cynthia Gomez

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As of Jan. 29, California State University colleges have received a record number of 515,448 undergraduate applications for fall 2008 admissions, the CSU administration indicates.

This is an increase of 47,967 applications received prior to date from last year.

CSU spokesperson Paul Browning said, “We think it’s great that we have a record number, but we have to put a cap on it because of the proposed budget cuts.”

As California faces a $14 billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a $312.9 million budget cut to the CSU colleges, which, if approved, would eliminate access to 10,000 eligible incoming students but would provide an enrollment growth of 2.5 percent.

As of Feb. 13, CSUN has received 22,982 undergraduate applications for fall 2008, according to the office of admissions and records. For fall 2007, the university received 21,191 undergraduate applications.

Carmen Chandler, director of news and information of public relations and strategic communications at CSUN, said that as far as she can remember, the university has received a new record number of undergraduate applications for fall 2008.

Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president of academic affairs at CSUN, said he is not surprised with the record numbers of applications to the CSU. He also added that in order to know for sure that there is a record number of undergraduate applications, the CSU would need several years to track the data in order to get an accurate sense of the data.

“I think the CSU numbers, when you finally shake them out, they’re going to be pretty constant with this past year,” Hellenbrand said. “I would have thought we’d be up by five to seven percent from last year before. It’s basically a trend.”

Terry Piper, vice president of student affairs at CSUN, also indicated that the increase in the number of undergraduate applications in the CSU over the last five years has remained constant.

Hellenbrand said the reason why the CSU system has seen an increase in undergraduate applications is because the online resource CSUMentor lets undergraduates apply electronically to multiple CSUs at one time instead of filling out different application forms and paying different fees.

“What’s weird is since (the CSU) now allows people to apply to multiple institutions, it’s hard to know whether there are really more applicants or if there are just more applications,” Hellenbrand said. “It’s confusing because we see we have more applications, but I’m not convinced that we, as a system, have more applicants than we did the last year or so.”

Browning said CSU interest is growing among black and Hispanic students, which is one of the reasons for the record number of undergraduate applications. He added that the other reason why applications is increasing is because of the CSU’s student outreach to communities and high schools.

Because of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s proposed CSU budget cuts, the CSU administration said that they closed admissions on Feb. 1 to first-time freshmen (FTF) to all CSUs except for seven of its campuses. CSU Los Angeles, Dominguez Hills, Sacramento, Bakersfield, San Bernardino, East Bay and Monterey Bay will continue to accept applications for FTF until Mar. 1, said the CSU administration.

Online applications from FTF have increased from 365,831 to 415,569 over the last year, indicates CSU administration. They are expecting that number to grow at the CSU campuses that are continuing to accept undergraduate applications for fall 2008.