California State University is seeing a record increase in applications this fall, just as budget cuts are forcing the system to reduce its student body by 40,000 over a two-year period, the chancellor said today.
The state has cut CSU's budget by $564 million this fiscal year, Chancellor Charles Reed said in a telephone news conference this morning.
The school cut about 4,000 students from its enrollment this fall, and plans a reduction of 6,000 more students in the spring 2010 semester. CSU must reduce its enrollment by 40,000 total in order to operate within the reduced budget, he said.
However, the school's shrinking pool of resources has not dampened Californians' desire to attend. The system began accepting applications for the coming school year on Oct. 1 and has since received more than 266,000 applications, he said. Preliminary numbers show a 53 percent increase compared to the same time last year.
This includes 145,000 applications for first-time freshmen, up 32 percent, and 88,000 from potential community college transfer students, a 127 percent jump.
"It's the largest increase in applications we have ever received," Reed said.
The system will accept applications through Nov. 30, Reed said. About eight of CSU's campuses may remain open for another four to six weeks, he said.
Next week, Reed will present a proposed 2010-11 budget to its board of trustees that includes a request that the state restore $305 million in one-time cuts from 2009-10. The budget also asks for $587 million to cover mandatory cost increases.
Reed allowed that the request is ambitious in the current fiscal climate.
"We need to show the Legislature and the governor what the real needs are of California's citizens, and to ask them to invest in California's future and the future workforce of this state," he said.