Enrollment Freeze Hits Transfer Students

Angel Silva, El Vaquero News Editor

In response to difficult economic hurdles, the California State University (CSU) system will not accept transfer students for the 2013 spring semester at most of its campuses and will wait list all incoming fall students until Nov. 6, when the results of a potential tax measure are known.

“CSU plans to cut enrollment for 2013 – 2014 by 20,000 to 25,000 students, first by closing most of its campuses for spring admissions,” the CSU Public Affairs website stated.

A substantial amount of students transfer to the CSU system after finishing their prerequisites on campus, said GCC Transfer Center counselor Kevin Meza.

“We typically transfer about 700 to 800 students per year to the Cal State system, but in budget cut years it could go down as low as 500,” said Meza.

In the 2007-08 academic year, 806 students transferred to a CSU from GCC.

The 2008-09 year saw 728 transfers, and in 2009-10 there was a further decrease in transfers, with only 512 students transferring to a CSU from GCC that year.

“[Transfer rates] have dropped throughout the past couple of years, and not just at Glendale,” said Meza. “Less students are transferring to the Cal State [throughout] the state of California and it’s a direct result of the budget cuts.”

Transfer rates for the 2010 – 2011 year rose back to normal levels, with 755 students enrolling at a CSU.
Only eight out of the 23 CSU’s will allow transfers from community colleges — Chico, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Fullerton, Channel Islands, East Bay, Sonoma, and San Francisco — and only if applied through SB 1440, or the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, which guarantees a community college student access to the CSU system after completing an associate’s degree.

“It’s a policy that if you complete certain courses, the Cal States will give you priority
admission. It’s supposed to ease the transfer process but there’s a lot of problem with the degree,” said Meza.

According to Meza, the program doesn’t guarantee admission to a particular CSU, nor does it necessarily guarantee admission into a major of the applicant’s choice. Applicants may be given a similar major instead.

“We’re hoping that the state will make some adjustments to it to make it a more user-friendly approach,” said Meza. “Out of the whole state, [the CSU system is] only expecting maybe a hundred or two to be able to do it that spring.”

Just because a student isn’t transferring doesn’t mean that they can lie back and relax, said Meza, who recommends finding ways to maximize the time during that semester.

“Students who are planning to transfer in Spring [should] take more requirements if they haven’t met all of them,” said Meza. “You can also use that time to seek employment or maybe an internship in your field. Taking up to 70 units still helps you for the Cal State so you have less courses to take once you get there.”

“Outside of that, the traditional transfer process is the same – you obviously do the best you can to pass your courses in a timely manner, make sure you have all the minimum requirements, and get the best grades possible,” said Meza. “All of that stuff hasn’t changed, what has changed is that timelines are more crucial than ever before and information [is more important].”

Fall 2013 enrollment will depend on whether the governor’s tax increase is passed on Nov. 6 by voters. Should the proposal fail, the CSU system would be forced to cut $200 million from funding, a move that would further harm a system dealing with $750 million in cuts made during the 2011 – 2012 year.

If the governor’s tax proposal doesn’t pass, the CSU would freeze transfers for fall 2013 as well, according to media contact Claudia Keith.

“That would be the potential plan of action,” Keith said. “[Enrollment] would have to be frozen as well, not accepting additional transfer students. That is contingent on the tax initiative.

The CSU’s decision to restrict entry for the spring semester was a necessary step, although an unfortunate one, said Meza.

“The Cal States don’t have enough money to provide an education to these students. They call it enrollment management – they have to reduce student access, so they put certain steps in the way of students to get to their goal, certain barriers if you will,” said Meza.

Admission freezes are nothing new, according to adjunct English professor Lianna Manukyan, who is an adjunct at GCC and at Cal State LA.

“From what I have heard, there were a few quarters that they blocked transfers altogether [at Cal State LA],” said Manukyan. “Summer sessions have been closed off for a couple of quarters — there were no classes during summer this semester.”

The decision to cut classes affects instructors just as much as students, said Manukyan.

“The instructors are there, but there isn’t enough money to pay them, so instructors are being laid off and the students are being barred from coming in,” said Manukyan. “For spring at Cal State LA, I wasn’t given classes. They told me, ‘we don’t have a budget, you can’t teach here.’”

Kinesiology major Jairo Bautista, 22, is relieved to be able to transfer to Cal State LA this fall before the freeze occurs.

“I’m just glad I’m doing this now,” said Bautista. “It’s going to get harder to get in, and not only that but it’s more expensive than it was four years ago.”

Meza remains optimistic about the situation with the CSU system.

“All these changes are pending – even though they’ve announced that they’re not opening for spring I would say that there’s a slight chance that they’ll take students,” said Meza. “That’s why students need to keep checking, because sometimes budgets are better than what schools think.”

However, Manukyan remained doubtful.

“I think more things are trying to be done to make it better, but I don’t see it actually happening
it yet,” said Manukyan. “We seem to be going deeper and deeper into the pit instead of coming
out of it.”