CSU Northridge enrollment reductions cause anger 

Students and faculty are protesting new budget-driven restrictions on the number of students allowed to enroll in classes at Cal State Northridge.

The university faces a cutback of $7 million in state funding if it doesn't drop its spring enrollment by 2,800 full-time students, according to a report Saturday in the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/wkP5hW).

With 34,000 students on campus, the school enrolled several thousand more students than the target set by the university system.

To come into compliance with the limit, CSU Northridge has imposed a cap at 15 on the number of credits most students can carry and is enforcing it during the current add-drop period.

Graduating seniors and some other groups will still be able to take more than 15 credits.

Professors at the university are also barred from enrolling students beyond a class' formal limit.

The overall amount of students' class credits is the most important part of the formula to distribute much of state funding to higher education, the Times reported.

Harold Hellenbrand, the interim campus president, told the newspaper he reluctantly imposed the new rules even though he disagrees with the reasoning that led to them. The Cal State system hopes the state will increase funding if enough families see their children shut out of classes and protest, he said.

"The kids on campus are caught in the vise of this stuff," Hellenbrand said after meeting this week with about 150 students and faculty who are upset about the changes. He described some students' situations as "quite poignant and depressing."

Officials said some of Cal State Northridge's overcrowding was a result of students being squeezed out at other campuses, such as Pomona and Long Beach, and to tuition hikes that encourage students to take more classes in an effort to graduate more quickly.

Five other Cal State campuses, including Dominguez Hills, San Marcos and Bakersfield, were also over-enrolled in the fall. Northridge faces the largest penalty because it exceeded its target the most, according to Cal State system officials.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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