Feb 252003
Authors: Vincent Adams

Less money in CSU’s budget will now mean fewer CSU students.

CSU will tighten admission standards to help remedy budget constraints caused by state cuts in higher education.

Before the state’s first budget cuts, the state gave CSU about $5,400 a year for each full-time student. Now, the state gives CSU around $4,500 per full-time student, which is about a 20 percent drop, said Keith Ickes, associate vice president for administration services.

“We have less money to teach students,” he said, “and we can’t keep taking in more students because we barely have the enough money to teach the students we have now.”

CSU has 24,735 students, and in order to comfortably fund each student’s education under the current budget, Ickes said the school would have to lower enrollment to around 20,000 students.

One way to tighten admission standards is to enforce the math requirement policy for transfer students. CSU requires transfer students to complete math at the school they are transferring from before they can transfer to CSU.

“We have had that policy for years,” Ickes said. “Now all we have to do is enforce the policy that is already in place.”

Ickes said putting a student through the math program at CSU costs the school a lot of money due to the amount of resources the program uses.

The university projects 220 transfer students will not be accepted for the fall 2003 semester because they won’t meet the math requirements.

“Last year, 280 transfer students didn’t meet the math requirements,” Ickes said. “We are projecting at least 220 transfer students won’t meet the requirement and they won’t be admitted.”

Students applying to CSU after high school will also face the tighter admission standards.

CSU is under state mandate to have 80 percent of its students meet an index score of 101. The university could set the standard higher by requiring 85 percent of its students meet the 101 index score, which would eliminate some applicants from consideration, Ickes said.

An index score is a combination of a high school student’s grade point average and scores on standardized testing, like the SATs and ACTs.

Sarah DeMoor, a senior health and exercise major, said that aside from helping ease budget constraints, the tougher admission standards could help CSU’s image because the university would accept higher-quality students.

“Being more selective on who we accept improves our reputation,” she said.

But until CSU can lower student enrollment, the school is also seeking other ways to ease budget constraints.

The university will continue to cut the number of employed adjunct and temporary faculty, which would increase class size because there would be fewer faculty members available to teach classes, Ickes said.

“Instead of two classes of 20, we will have one class of 40,” Ickes said.

Ickes said if done well, larger class sizes would have a minimal impact on students.

“We don’t want to weaken the quality of a class because there are more students,” Ickes said, “but this could have an additional load on the faculty.”

Ickes said many professors would have to spend less time researching and more time teaching.

Gina Bueche, a junior microbiology major, said professors’ increased focus on teaching could have positive and negative consequences.

“On the surface, having teachers focus more on teaching seems great for students,” she said, “but research is important and students do have a lot of opportunities in research. Research helps students get a well-rounded education, and we have a good balance already.”

Ickes said things could get worse if CSU is forced to suffer any more budget cuts.

“We would have to reexamine everything,” he said.

Ickes said one reexamination would be whether to cap the number of students allowed in “if the state comes back in 2004 with another $15 million cut.”

“That would be almost (a total of) 24 percent cut from the general fund,” Ickes said.

With any future cuts from the state, Ickes said the university could start competing with the K-12 system for funding.

Ickes said, “it would be hard for (the state) to cut dollars for cute, little boys and girls.”

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