CSUN exceeded its state-mandated enrollment target by four percent this semester, producing a more favorable economic picture for the university following a missed enrollment target last fall, according to university officials.
The university is held to an annual target set by the CSU system, and administrators try to meet that target every semester, according to Harold Hellenbrand, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
“If we fall under target, we lose money and it goes back to the state,” Hellenbrand said.
The target was 23,980 full-time equivalent students, or FTES, and enrollment exceeded that, with 25,140 FTES counted for the Fall 2005 semester. In Fall 2004, the university fell short of its FTES target by three percent.
According to Institutional Research, the average load for students this semester is 11.34 units, up 0.23 units from Fall 2004. The total headcount of students on campus is 33,243.
“We multiply all students by the number of units they’re taking and divide that by 15,” Hellenbrand said, in order to get the number of FTES on campus.
The CSU system creates enrollment targets based on a campus’ growth from one year to the next, Hellenbrand said.
“There’s an enrollment committee. They determine (the FTES target) with anticipation,” said Barbara Hlinka, assistant director of Institutional Research.
Hlinka said budget cuts did not affect this year’s target number as it did last year.
“Last year we had mandates to keep down the freshman class by the governor because of the budget cuts,” Hlinka said. “This year we anticipated that we would have more money and we actually had a wider area (of students) that we were able to select from.”
Eric Forbes, director of Admissions and Records, said the amount of students enrolled affects the time of closure for the application process in admissions.
The deadline to meet the FTES target is called the census date, which occurs on Day 20 of instruction during a semester, Forbes said. The number of FTES compared with the annual budget and the target is created from there.
In 2004, the FTES target was 23,902, but CSUN only achieved 23,206 by the census point, according to Institutional Research.
“What we have to do is figure out our capacity,” Forbes said. “Then (figure out) how many more (students) will likely come. When we actually achieve those numbers, we will close admission.”
Enrollment is slightly low in the Education and Engineering departments this semester, as well as with graduate students, Hellenbrand said.
According to the census report for the Fall 2005 semester, the projected target for the College of Education was 2,425 FTES, in which 2,131 was met. The target for the College of Engineering was 1,125 FTES, and 1,083 were met.
CSUN’s exceeded its FTES target in its other six colleges, as well as in the developmental programs, according to the census report.
“We only close admissions to a group when we know that we are receiving a sufficient number of applicants,” Forbes said. “The budget is governing how many students we can accept.”
Diane Stephens, director of academic budget management said FTES was important to the campus.
“The government budget uses FTES as a funding mechanism for the (CSU) system,” Stephens said. “If we don’t meet the target, we lose money.”
Between $7,000 and $8,000 is given to the school for every FTE student, Hellenbrand said.
After the census date, any student that drops a course will decrease his or her unit load, but it will not affect the numbers made by the deadline, Stephens said.
Cynthia Ramos can be reached at email@example.com.