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Cal State sees record applications for fall 2012

May 21, 2012 |  4:23 pm

Students throng the campus at Cal State  Northridge.
Despite funding cuts and controversies over tuition and executive salaries, California State University remains a popular destination, receiving a record number of applications for the fall 2012 term.

Preliminary numbers released Monday show that Cal State’s 23 campuses received nearly 743,000 freshmen and transfer applications, up about 5% from the previous year. The total includes multiple applications from some students.

Despite the increased demand, the system expects to admit about 350,000 applicants, about the same as the previous year, and enroll about 106,000 students, 95% of them California residents.

Cal State is likely to admit more qualified students this fall than in fall 2010, when admissions declined sharply because of budget cuts.

But this year’s gain could be set back if voters fail to pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure on the November ballot, which would trigger an additional $250 million funding cut for the system. State support has already been cut by $750 million this fiscal year.

Annual tuition for undergraduates will increase 9% this fall to $5,970, not including campus-based fees that average more than $1,000.

Cal State earlier had announced that it would freeze enrollment for most students in spring 2013 and wait-list applicants for the following fall, with admissions notices sent only after the fate of the tax measure is known.

From 20,000 to 25,000 qualified students could be turned away.

“The CSU is caught between a huge demand to attend our universities and a state that simply is not providing adequate funding for these students,” Eric Forbes, Cal State assistant vice chancellor for student academic support, said in a statement. “We are facing a tipping point in terms of the promise of access that is at the heart of the CSU mission.”

Chancellor Charles B. Reed and members of the Board of Trustees have faced increasing criticism over executive salary decisions since awarding the new president of San Diego State  an annual salary of $400,000 — $100,000 more than his predecessor — at the same meeting last July at which tuition was increased by 12%. Earlier this month, trustees agreed to freeze salaries of incoming campus presidents but allow individual campus nonprofit foundations to boost pay up to 10%.


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-- Carla Rivera 

Photo: Students walk through the campus of California State University Northridge in 2011. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times