CSUN’s freshman class increases to largest in history

Marissa Kindelspire

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The department of undergraduate studies is working toward a revamped freshman admission plan to begin next year as a result of an increase in enrolled students.

More than 5,200 first-time freshman will begin classes, prompting faculty to begin tailoring the admissions requirements for the 2011-2012 school year, said Cynthia Rawitch, associate vice president of undergraduate studies.

“We have 1,000 more students attending classes this year than last year,” Rawitch said. “By the time classes are settled, the projected number will be 5,300, which is 600 more than the highest class size we’ve had.”

This fall CSUN will play host to the largest freshmen class in the history of the university, Rawitch said.

She added the university cannot successfully handle a class of that size two years in a row.

“Freshmen students require more classes because of the math and english prerequisites, and there aren’t enough available even with the use of part-time faculty,” she said. “We have to have support services for the students, otherwise we are admitting them to flunk.”

Because plans are made a year in advance, Rawitch and others involved in the construction of undergraduate admission are working toward having a plan within the next three weeks.

“We’re taking steps to decrease the number of students for Fall 2011, (we’re) playing with things to achieve the right balance,” Rawitch said. “We don’t want to restrict applicants in a certain way that will empty the dorms or change the ethnic composition of the campus.”

The amount of students that will be denied admission is undecided, although Rawitch said “considerably fewer” will be enrolled.

“We try our best to be kind in trimming the application requirements,” Rawitch said.

The increasing number of applicants has to do with shifting attitudes about CSUN, she said.

“The job market and economy is not the sole reason why students are choosing to come to CSUN anymore,” she said. “We are becoming a ‘destination school’ and not just the local campus that one will end up at.”

While more students apply to CSUN, campus recruitment services are cutting back on the amount of time spent talking to high school students.

“We’re not recruiting students to come to CSUN right now while there is such an overflow,” said Javier Hernandez, director of student outreach and recruitment services. “The focus is on promotion and marketing ourselves to the future applicants, to instill that idea of going to college in the future.”

Hernandez said student outreach services works to keep high school counselors and parents aware of deadlines for students who have been admitted to the university.

The California state budget, which governs how CSUN is run, was scheduled to be approved at the end of June.

Rawitch said the budget approval is expected to be passed by Nov. 1, and will dictate how spring semester will operate.

“We’ve heard talk about an increase in budget for the campus, but are preparing in a frugally minded and rational way. If the budget does not pull through in a positive way, we’ll have to cut classes in spring and not accept transfer students as we normally do.”

Bettina Huber, director of institutional research, said final fall enrollment is not yet confirmed.

“Many more students are admitted to CSUN each term than actually enroll,” she said in an e-mail interview.

More than 33,500 students were set to begin classes on August 23, Huber said.