Come this fall, Cal State Long Beach students may find their campus to be a little more claustrophobic than past semesters.
The commuter campus has received a record 102,000 applications from undergraduate students for the upcoming fall semester as stated in a press release from the Office of Public Affairs. This will continue the university’s record-breaking application streak, with over 10,000 more students applying compared to the 91,000 applications in the fall 2017 semester.
Of the 102,000 applications, over 65,000 were from first-time freshmen, and more than 33,000 of applicants were transfer students.
“I think that impaction will definitely continue,” Lindsey Reeves, a senior film and electronics major said. “Our reputable programs will become out of reach if acceptance rate continues to be low.”
Long Beach also received the most applicants within the Cal State system, which have also seen a growth in undergraduate applications.
“These numbers are remarkable,” President Jane Close Conoley said in a press release. “Long Beach State University continues to attract record numbers of prospective students in large part because of our strong faculty and staff, who deliver an outstanding education.”
However, a high volume of applicants will result in an increased amount of declined applications. Of the 102,000 applicants, the school will only be able to accomodate 8,500 of them.
Long Beach has faced high rejection rates in the past, with over 36,000 rejection letters sent out to applicants for the fall semester of 2016. President Conoley, who has prided Long Beach as a school that offers education to all, spoke on the issue back in 2016, as reported by EdSource.
“Other schools use their low admissions rates as a point of pride. Anything rare becomes more desirable,” Conoley said. “We do not want to go down the path of saying we’re becoming an elite university that only takes the best and brightest.”
Many schools face the issue of rejecting countless prospective undergraduates due largely in part with state funding not increasing alongside the ever-growing amount of applicants that qualify for the minimum requirements.
“Our enrollment capacity is tied to the campus master plan and state budget. We are nearing capacity, but we also have some room to grow [enrollment],” said Terri Carbaugh, associated vice president of public affairs. “Having said that, we are unable to grow if the state does not provide funding for increased enrollment.”
California Governor Jerry Brown’s 2018 budget plan offers a mere $92.1 million toward the Cal State system. The university system’s general funds, which are covered by the state budget, requires $263 million in order to fulfill the operating budget, while Brown’s plans would cover around a third of the costs.
“The governor’s proposed 2018-19 state budget provides a 1.4 percent increase to the CSU’s operating budget, which falls $171 million short of the Board of Trustees’ request,” Carbaugh said. “Without additional funds from the legislature, our campus will have to make difficult decisions to cover financial obligations, including access.”
For in-state students, this raises many questions on tuition increases and how priority admittance will be decided, especially considering Long Beach having been declared as an impacted campus for the 2018-19 school year.
As the demand for admittance becomes more difficult, students fear that this will lead to the CSU Board of Trustees raising tuition prices to combat low state funding.
“Given that CSULB is already a reputable school, declining acceptance rates will heighten CSULB’s good reputation,” Reeves said. According to Elizabeth Chapin, manager of public affairs for the Cal State, there are accommodations that make it easier for local students to gain priority admission.
“CSU campuses have a long history of serving students in their local vicinities,” Chapin said. “While impaction has made admissions more challenging, several campuses, including CSULB, currently provide some sort of priority to local students who meet admissions requirements.”
For first-time freshmen, local priority will depend on the vicinity of the high school, with an emphasis on Long Beach schools. This is due to the Long Beach College Promise Partnership Act, a 2008 program aimed at promoting college preparedness in students K-12, which was made a permanent program by Governor Brown.
However, even with these programs aimed at increasing college enrollment, future applicants can expect to see the trend of an expanding gap between applicants and admittance.
While this can be daunting for some, students like Michael Scaboo, a junior marketing major, does not believe Long Beach’s reputation is at risk of becoming a selective campus.
“I don’t think CSULB will become an ‘elite’ school,” Scaboo said. “But I do think it will become more and more impacted, making it harder for all applicants to enter.”