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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

SF State enrollment drops to numbers not seen in 45 years

Spring schedule is set to see fewer classes available
Michaela Mateo
SFSU’s student enrollment has continuously decreased, which will affect the number of classes and faculty that will be implemented in the upcoming semesters. (Graphic illustration by Michaela Mateo / Golden Gate Xpress)

The final census reveals San Francisco State University’s enrollment dropped to numbers not seen since 1979, leaving students worried about graduating on time as college deans are instructed to cut classes starting next semester.

“I’m worried about my major being impacted due to the amount of staff available as well as the amount of classes [offered],” said Justine Bulaong, a visual communication design major.

The total headcount this fall is 23,700 students, according to Sutee Sujitparapitaya, associate provost at SFSU’s Institutional Research. Sujitparapitaya said the last time the school’s enrollment was this low was in the fall of 1979, when the headcount was 23,545.

Department chairs across campus are being asked to reduce the number of classes they offer to reflect the lower enrollment.

“We cut about 18-20% of our course offerings for the spring,” said Matt Lee, the chair of the kinesiology department. “That was the direction given from our college office.”

While overall enrollment is down, some departments are witnessing steady or even increased enrollment.

Liz Brown, the department chair of criminal justice, had to cut courses despite the department having strong enrollment.

“I cut a total of 11 sections compared to last spring,” Brown said. “Nine of these were required courses in our major.”

Enrollment has been around 29,000 since 2022, according to data from SFSU’s Institutional Research. Enrollment dropped slightly to 27,075 in the fall of 2020, leaving today’s number over 12% lower since then.

Bulaong already has difficulty enrolling in the classes she needs for her minor in studio arts and has concerns it will get worse.

“When it came to picking my minor classes, they would get full instantly,” Bulaong said. “I had to be in waitlist for a few weeks, and I never got in the class.”

In a letter sent to all faculty and staff on Oct. 5, University Provost Amy Sueyoshi reiterated the loss in revenue over the years that has left SFSU facing a $16.5 million deficit.

“As we plan for spring 2024, we are feeling particular pain since we have not been making needed incremental adjustments over the past ten years,” Sueyoshi wrote. “We are asking departments to first schedule only the classes they need to keep students on track towards graduation in order to avoid scheduling too many classes for the current number of students.”

Kinesiology is another department that isn’t seeing decreased enrollment in their classes.

“Our enrollment is actually increasing,” Lee said. “We came off of impaction this semester, and the number of kinesiology majors has gone up by over 100 students already.”

Still, though, Lee was asked to decrease the classes offered.

Lee also took careful consideration and said most of the courses cut were general education or electives.

“All of the required courses needed for graduation are on the schedule,” Lee said.

Department chairs are still doing their best to keep students’ success at the forefront of their planning.

“I watch enrollment every day during registration, and if my calculations are wrong and students need additional sections, we will build them then and offer them,” Brown said.

Arno Puder, department chair of computer science, is also looking at a robust increase in students enrolled in his department.

“Our enrollment has literally exploded,” Puder said. “Six percent of all SFSU students have declared computer science as their major. Computer science is the largest department at SFSU.”

Puder is facing a different hurdle following the loss of over a third of computer science faculty in the past year.

“Our big problem is hiring new professors,” Puder said. “We have lost a third of [our] faculty over the past year.”

The spring 2024 schedule will be released on Nov. 6.

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About the Contributors
Stephanie King, Staff Reporter
Stephanie King is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. She is a print and online journalism major with a minor in sociology. She is also enrolled in SFSU’s College of Professional & Global Education, completing a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Stephanie is a freelance writer and published author. She grew up in Marin Country, and now enjoys her rent-controlled San Francisco home with her cat, Sophie. When Stephanie is not reading biographies or other non-fiction, she attends San Francisco sports games and is a season ticket holder for The Golden State Warriors.
Michaela Mateo, Visuals Editor
Michaela Gutierrez Mateo (She/Her) is the Golden Gate Xpress Visuals Editor for Fall 2023. Her nickname is Micha, is a 4th year Photojournalism major and an Asian American Studies minor. She is a transfer student from Chabot College, Hayward where she had her first experience as a reporter for The Spectator. Her passion is photography and film but most of all she is a Kdrama and Kpop addict.

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