College frontlines: California State University system becoming too crowded

Heavy increases in student enrollment coupled with insufficient funding have resulted in cutbacks on student admissions at California State University Northridge (CSUN).

The California State Universities make up the nation’s largest four-year public university system, with over 437,000 students with 44,000 faculty members and staff. In order to not exceed their enrollment capacity, CSUN has decided to reduce their undergraduate enrollment by one percent each year over the next four years.

The primary method of reducing enrollment figures will be through impaction, which is the process of holding higher standards of admission for majors where more students apply than the school can accommodate, as is the case for most majors in the engineering and bio-medical fields. In her official statement on the CSUN website, Northridge President Dianna F. Harrison said that CSUN will “implement academic, freshmen, and transfer-level impaction for undergraduate programs beginning in fall 2016.”

Funding for state schools is an ongoing issue, with the average tuition rate increasing dramatically for both undergraduate and graduate students. This past November, the University of California (UC) Board announced their plans to raise tuition 27.6 percent over the next five years alone. The effects have become even more pronounced in CSUN’s case, ultimately resulting in the impaction policy that is now being instituted.

While graduate students and current seniors who have already been accepted to CSUN remain unaffected, some Cam High juniors are now going to take this into account when applying this spring and fall.

“[The new impaction policy] is going to be detrimental to the current juniors, because before, the CSU’s were known for being easier to get into,” said Jordan Duran, junior. “There is going to be a lot more crowding in every school available.”

Other students were uneasy about the shrinking proportion of funds dedicated to higher institutions of learning. “We need more funds allocated to education. The building blocks of a functioning society are dependent upon an educated and wise populace,” said Omeed Tavasoli, junior.

In spite of monetary concerns, college education has not necessarily become unobtainable. “Private colleges are giving more scholarship money and some out-of-state colleges are waiving the out-of-state tuition,” said Mrs. Debbie Prentice, College and Career Center adviser.

Prentice also advised students to add out-of-state colleges in addition to those stateside in their search for a college education.

Mr. Alex Garcia, Northern Arizona University (NAU) representative, said that Northridge’s dilemma is NAU’s gain. “Students in California have a difficult time being accepted to schools there because [the university system] is so impacted,” said Garcia. “Many out-of-state schools like NAU offer tuition-reduction in the form of scholarships and various other programs.”

Garcia also said that NAU and a number of other schools outside California are stepping up recruiting efforts in the Golden State.