The Irascible Professor SM
Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today

by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro

Breaking News - August 1, 2003:  California State University, Fullerton Closes Spring 2004 Enrollment and Plans Additional Class Cuts.

The Irascible Professor has learned that in response to the California state budget compromise, which further reduced funding for public higher education, the Fullerton campus of the California State University has closed all enrollment for the spring 2004 semester.  In addition, the campus plans to cut an additional 320 class sections this academic year.  In response to previous budget projections, the campus already was in the process of reducing the number of course sections offered by 10% from the previous year.

Cal State Fullerton had been one of the most rapidly growing campuses in the 23 campus California State University system.  Its president, Milton A. Gordon, had instituted an aggressive growth policy during the past several years.  Under this policy, which focused on "access", campus enrollment regularly exceeded budgeted targets from the CSU Chancellor's Office.  This was done in the expectation that additional fund would be forthcoming for these "extra" students in subsequent years.

One of the factors driving this growth policy was an anomaly in the way the CSU System funded the Fullerton campus.  For many years the dollar amount received by the Fullerton campus for each enrolled student was substantially below the system average.  After assuming the presidency at Fullerton, Gordon was able to work out a deal with then Chancellor Barry Munitz that ensured that Fullerton would receive per student funding at the average amount for the system for each student enrolled above a 16,000 full-time equivalent student baseline.  The baseline, however, would continue to be funded at the lower rate.

The new directive from the Chancellor's Office requires all campuses to stay within their assigned enrollment targets because funds for enrollment growth have been axed from the budget by the legislature.  This new policy will impact the Fullerton campus especially hard because it already has admitted a large number of students in excess of its previous targets.  Thus Fullerton students, in many cases, will not be able to enroll in all the classes that they normally would.  This will delay graduation for many students.  In addition to having to pay a 30% increase in tuition (on top of a 25% increase imposed last year), students who are forced to take additional semesters to graduate must pay the higher tuition for each of those additional semesters.


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© 2003 Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - All rights reserved.