Share your thoughts: CSU cuts off most spring 2013 enrollment

California State University officials chose to bar enrollment for all but a relative handful of students in the spring 2013 semester, a move meant to stave off further tuition hikes in the financially strained system.

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The number of students admitted in spring 2013 will be “in the hundreds,” all currently in community colleges and through the Student Transfer Agreement Reform Act, also known as Senate Bill 1440. Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park is among the handful of campuses that will accept those students, along with Cal State campuses in San Francisco, Chico, Fullerton, the East Bay, Channel Islands, Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

Having already taken a $750 million budget cut for the current fiscal year, the 23-campus CSU system said it could face another $200 million reduction for fiscal 2013 if California voters do not approve applicable tax measures on the November ballot.

With that uncertainty, the system has also chosen to place students who apply for the 2013 fall semester on a waitlist, pending results of the election.

"We’ve made the decision to cut enrollment to match our funding from the state," said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the CSU.

The decision was presented to the CSU board of trustees during their regular meeting this week, though no vote was required.

This is the second time that the CSU has chosen to bar enrollment, following a similar move in response to $580 million budget cut in the spring semester of 2010, Mr. Uhlenkamp said.

Spring enrollment is typically lower than in the fall, averaging 16,000--18,000, Mr. Uhlenkamp said. If tax measures fail to pass this year, the CSU would be forced to further reduce its enrollment by 20,000--25,000 students, he said.

The CSU has experienced an approximately $1 billion cut in state funding in the past four years, with increased tuition covering approximately half of that reduction, according to the CSU. The system has increased class sizes and cut 6.6 percent of its staff in response.

What are your thoughts on the CSU’s decision to bar enrollment for nearly all students in the spring semester? How much impact will the CSU near ban on spring 2013 enrollment have on the local business community? What is the long-term impact of drastic cuts to the system? Will you vote for tax increases to fund education in November? Share your thoughts in the NBBJ Pulse Poll and in the comment section below.

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