The California State University system faces an alarming future scenario of enrolling only transfer students from the state’s community colleges and effectively turning away new freshmen. Last week Cal State Trustees warned that insufficient state funding could drastically impact the original mission of California public higher education, the country’s largest university system.
The caution came during a discussion of the preliminary 2015-2016 state budget, which forecast a growing demand for the state university 23-campus system. The fall 2014 term alone drew 761,000 applications, a record number for the system.
The bulk of the expected demand will most likely come from community college transfers, with two central reasons triggered by Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for increased state funding for public higher education: a boost in state funding is expected to increase community college enrollment this year by 60,000 students, plus more community college students will earn their associate degrees, giving guaranteed admission to a Cal State campus.
Gov. Brown tackled the severe budget cuts to education following rising tuition, course cuts and instructor layoffs that ignited student, faculty and public protests two years ago.
Gov. Brown’s multiyear plan calls for an additional $119.5 million each to the University of California and the California State University systems in 2015 – 2016. Even with the added money that amount falls short by $116.5 million of what the Cal State system says it needs for its operations, which include a targeted enrollment increase of around 12,000 students. A noteworthy statistic is that about one-half of qualifying students at Cal State are turned away only to end up at community colleges to become part of the increasing numbers of transfer students.
The likelihood of squeezing out new freshman potential due to a increasing demand from transfer students, coupled with stagnant funding to increase new student enrollment, creates a potentially damaging scenario up ahead.
According to Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White, “We do have a growing mismatch, and I think the executive branch and the three systems will have to act together.” Board of Trustees Chairman Lou Monville added to the dialog saying the model for the Cal State system could change threatening even further the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education. “I have a core concern that this could fundamentally change our mission under the Master Plan to take the top one-third of the high school graduating class,” said Monville.
The transfer numbers are high: In 2013 about 56,565 community college students transferred to Cal State campuses, which include the 1,400 with associate degrees qualified for transfer.
The Board of Trustees will finalize a budget plan at its November meeting.
~ Become a subscriber and stay in touch with my information updates!
meet me at: facebook/mgraysmith.writer