CSU enrollment jumps 20,000

Greg Kane

Enrollment at the California State University?s 23 campuses ballooned by more than 20,000 between fall 2000 and fall 2001, reaching a record total of 388,734 students.

The 5.5 percent enrollment increase exceeded the CSU?s expectations for the year and signals the arrival of Tidal Wave II, a student enrollment boom that had been predicted several years ago, said CSU spokesperson Clara Potes-Fellow. Since 1994, the system has grown by more than 69,000 students.

The numbers are only expected to increase as more and more students return to school in the face of a flagging economy, Potes-Fellow said.

“During an economic recession, individuals tend to go to the University or the (military) service,” Potes-Fellow said. “You probably can count on an even larger enrollment this year.”More than 27,000 students enrolled at Sacramento State in fall 2001, a record for the university.

The CSU hadn?t anticipated such a large increase this semester, and budget funds to accommodate the surge were limited, Potes-Fellow said. In an attempt to amend this, the CSU has requested a 4 percent increase in budgeted enrollment for 2002-03.

This leads to an interesting dilemma, since Gov. Gray Davis asked the CSU to look at making budget cuts for the next fiscal year to compensate for the state?s projected $14 billion budget deficit.

“That?s the battle the (CSU) has to win in the budget discussions,” Potes-Fellow said. “We have to see what happens when the Governor looks at the budget. He will have to accept the 4 percent increase request by (CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed).”

The CSU Board of Trustees recently approved the 2002-03 budget, and it will be presented to Davis in January. Potes-Fellow said the system would have a difficult time handling the projected student boom without an increased budget. “We have to remain flexible in order to confront these budget difficulties,” Potes-Fellow said.