LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) – The California State University board of trustees discussed a proposal Wednesday that would change requirements for community college students transferring into the nation’s largest public university system.
The trustees during their two-day meeting that started Tuesday are considering a variety of proposals to manage enrollment as the system faces a looming budget shortfall next year and a record number of students.
Enrollment this year at the 23-campus California State University system has reached a record of 406,896 students, which has been attributed to the softening state economy and the growing number of university-age children born to baby boomers.
University officials have estimated another 100,000 students would enter the system by 2010.
The CSU required funding for about 20,000 additional students this fiscal year and was only funded for 15,000, bringing its budget to more than $3 billion. Chancellor Charles B. Reed has said the CSU will need an additional $400 million to handle next year’s expected enrollment increase.
The transfer proposal would require community college students to complete 60 lower division units before transferring into the most crowded CSU campuses and programs. Right now, community college students must complete 56 units to transfer.
David Spence, CSU’s executive vice chancellor, said the proposal would streamline the admissions and financial aid process, as well as align the university with other public higher-education systems that require 60 units for transfer students.
Currently, community college students who transfer into the university with less than 60 credits are still considered a sophomore, said Spence. Those transfer students, however, must wait until they obtain at least 60 credits before they can apply for financial aid.
“The scope of this might have some impact on (enrollment) but that’s not really the reason we are doing this,” Spence said Wednesday. “Fifty-six units was arbitrary. It was something that was done years ago.”
The board Tuesday also discussed lifting 1970s enrollment ceilings to allow campuses to accept more students who take advantage of alternative classroom scenarios, such as online education and night and weekend classes.
The board is expected to formally vote on the proposals during its January meeting.