Wednesday, October 21, 2009

College News

I received this letter from the President of San Diego State University. This is more of a reason why all of you need to study hard and do the best you can.

SDSU Alumni and Friends:As a direct result of devastating state budget cuts of $571 million, the California State University System is reducing enrollment state-wide this year and next by 40,000 students. San Diego State's share of that reduction will be 4,618 students. There are 1,850 fewer students on campus this fall and we expect to reduce our enrollment by an additional 2,768 students next fall. As educators (and Californians) we wish resources allowed us to accept all qualified applicants, but they do not. California is now rationing educational opportunity, which is to say opportunity itself. Demand for an SDSU degree has never been higher. The university turned away 22,164 qualified applicants for the current fall semester - all from outside our local service area which includes schools south of State Rout 56 and all of Imperial County. It is unfair to deny educational opportunities to anyone--local students or better-qualified, out-of-area students. In the midst of the unprecedented cuts forced upon us, SDSU is looking for middle ground. The university will give extra eligibility points to local students in order to maintain its historic ratio of local to out-of-area first-time freshmen. Over the past 11 years, that ratio has been about 37 percent local. Up until now, local applicants could gain admission to SDSU by meeting a minimum eligibility score established by the CSU in conjunction with the California Postsecondary Education Commission. But because San Diego State receives so many applications (we are #2 in the country for undergraduate applications) we historically required non-local students to have a higher cut-off score. Beginning this year, we will award local applicants enough extra points to bring the number of their acceptances up to the proportion needed to maintain the historic 37 percent ratio. The cut-off scores and supplementary points will vary by discipline depending on demand and available spaces. A few critics claim SDSU is trying to discourage local students from applying. Nothing could be further from the truth. SDSU has encouraged local applicants by: partnering with the Sweetwater Union High School District to help its students prepare for success at SDSU; administering three inner-city schools in City Heights enrolling approximately 5,000 students; and, in recent years, increasing the proportion of local students in our Educational Opportunity Program (the largest in the state) from 40 to 80 percent. These efforts are designed to ensure that our local students are well prepared for collegiate success at San Diego State or any university of their choosing. Transfer students present a different challenge. Our historic ratio of in-service area to out-of-service area transfer applicants is 60 percent local. Given the reductions in funding and enrollment slots, we are giving first admission priority to local transfer applicants who meet the requirements of the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG). These will be transfer students who have 100 percent of their transferrable work from SDSU's local community colleges. Second admission priority will be offered to transfer students from local community colleges. We are predicting that virtually 100 percent of our transfer admits for fall 2010 will be local. What is our rationale regarding transfer admissions? Simply that given these difficult and unpleasant choices, we must give first priority to those transfer students who have completed all lower division requirements and have no more courses they can take at the community college level. These students are ready to enter their major and make progress toward their four-year degree. What can you do to help? First and foremost, encourage your children, or children of friends, to work hard, do their homework and pursue their dream of higher education. Secondly, fight for more enlightened priorities for California. We are failing the coming generation. Due to state budget cuts, we now have fewer spaces available for all the students who would like to attend SDSU. This is a sad commentary on the condition of our state and its inability to provide educational opportunity to students who want nothing more than to develop their skills and abilities to be our state's future leaders. For additional information, please visit Sincerely, Stephen L. Weber, SDSU President

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