Student enrollment at CSUN increases; school to get funds

Mike Siciliano

As a result of CSUN exceeding the CSU Chancellor’s mandated enrollment target for the 2005-06 school year, the university will receive additional budget funds, university officials said.

The number of full-time equivalent students at CSUN for the entire school year reached 25,160, including the Summer 2005 term, according to Bettina Huber, director of institutional research. CSUN surpassed the 24,196 full-time students equivalent target by 964 students, a gain of about 4 percent.

The CSU system as a whole is given a full-time-students-equivalent enrollment target by the California’s Department of Finance and Chancellor Charles Reed.

Every campus is then given a specific target, which must be met to avoid losing funds, said Harry Hellenbrand, CSUN provost.

When CSUN meets the Chancellor’s mandated enrollment target, it receives about $7,800 per student, Hellenbrand said.

“We are an enrollment-driven system,” Hellenbrand said. “Money doesn’t come from good behavior.”

The CSU system considers full-time equivalent students to be people taking at least 15 units, Hellenbrand said.

During the 2004-05 school year, CSUN fell below target by .5 percent, however, the university did not lose money from the state because it did not reach a full 1-percent drop, said Hellenbrand.

Some college deans said the increased enrollment will bring in money to reach certain needs.

The College of Arts, Media, and Communication received an additional amount of about $200,000 from the state in Fall 2005 for exceeding enrollment, said William Toutant, dean of the college.

Toutant said the college still has to input its expenses for this semester before it can determine what to do with the funds. The college, however, will first need to reimburse the funds spent on part-time faculty before it can use the additional money for other purposes, he said.

Jerry Stinner, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, also said much of the additional funding from the state will be needed to cover the cost of part-time instructors in his college. After that, any surplus funds will be needed to pay for supplies and teaching.

Since 2000, FTES in the College of Science and Mathematics have grown by 25 percent, Stinner said. However Stinner said the college does not make a profit from the growth.

“The more we grow, the deeper in debt we go,” Stinner said.

Stinner said the reason for the debt is that the college is not able to hire enough full-time faculty to keep pace with the growing number of students, and the state is not covering the cost necessary to educate students.

CSUN is planning to exceed present enrollment next year by four or five percent, Hellenbrand said. Two percent of that projection comes from the university’s conversion into Year-Round Operations, which will include a Summer 2006 session that will be at the same level as a fall or spring semester.

CSUN will have to take into account the constant increase in student fees along with any projected increase in enrollment.

“Each year fees will go up 8 to 10 percent,” Hellenbrand said.

The average unit load for students at CSUN is 11.5, Hellenbrand said. Other schools such as San Diego State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have an average unit load of 14, Hellenbrand said.

Full-time students equivalent standards vary based on the organization.

The Financial Aid ‘ Scholarship Department defines FTES as people taking at least 12 units, as does the National College Athletic Association. The CSU system uses a 15-unit minimum for the purposes of determining enrollment numbers, so a student satisfying the full-time equivalency requirement by financial aid would not be considered a FTES by the CSU. This does not, however, affect financial aid or NCAA eligibility.

“The only way we earn more dollars is through growth,” Stinner said. “If we don’t grow, we will get eaten alive from inflation.”