CSU opens door to spring students

In the wake of the 10.8 percent cut to enrollment experienced during spring 2010, a one-time increase in state funding opened the door to approximately 2,000 new students at SF State for spring 2011.

A $60.6 million allotment in the state’s 2010-2011 budget allowed enrollment to stabilize this semester with the addition of approximately 30,000 new students statewide.

However, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2011-2012 budget aims to reduce state funding to the CSU system by 18 percent, or roughly $500 million, returning state support to its 1999 level despite an additional 70,000 students CSUs now serve.

“I 100 percent disagree with the cuts in enrollment,” said Michelle Gallemore, an environmental studies major. “It’s horrible. I got screwed and couldn’t do anything. I took an art class to stay entertained, so I’m just ecstatic to be here.”

Gallemore changed her major as a last resort after missing the shortened application period for fall 2009. Like many, she was not accepted in spring 2010.

The CSU board referred to Brown’s plan as a “best-case scenario,” as it assumes that the temporary 1 percent tax increase from April 2009 will continue after its expiration once the fiscal year ends July 1, the board stated in a press release.

“We have not received our new enrollment target for 2011-12, but SF State will probably need to reduce the number of new students admitted,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management at SF State.

This spring, total enrollment on campus is expected to be approximately 28,300, compared with 27,465 in 2010, Volkert said.

“If this budget went forward, it would be bad for the CSU and the economy as a whole,” said CSU spokesman Erik Fallis. “California’s economy cannot improve without an educated workforce, and cutting higher education will have serious impacts on the state’s economic recovery.”

Some students who were admitted this spring had their academic careers put on hold when they were turned away in previous semesters. Other students like pre-nursing major Breeana Randle managed to avoid such obstacles.

“I was missing a unit when I tried to transfer in fall, but I was allowed to make it up,” Randle said. “I feel so much better knowing they actually allowed me to come in in spring. I wouldn’t be able to take living at home anymore.”

Others viewed the difficulties they faced with enrollment not as a battle won, but as a sign of what’s to come.

“I expect budget decreases, fee increases and class cuts,” Gallemore said. “I only hope it gets better before it gets worse.”