Enrollment in CSU system to level out, no new campus warranted

The California State University system is gradually enrolling more high school graduates every year. However, according to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report, there is no need for an additional California State or University of California campus.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office report, released in January, is an in-depth analysis of both the California State and University of California systems. 

An assessment of the university systems was a requirement of Chapter 22, Senate Bill No. 81, Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review.

Factors affecting this analysis include high school graduation rates, an increase in college preparation, current and planned enrollment capacity and the amount of room universities have to grow.

The report projects student enrollment in the CSU and UC systems to grow only moderately over the next 10 years, meaning a new campus’ construction is not warranted. High school graduates enrolling at California State Universities have increased by about 4 percent since 2000, and enrollment has remained steady at University of California campuses.

Gustavo Flores, director of enrollment management at Sonoma State University, says those figures are similar at Sonoma State.

“In fall 2010 Sonoma State enrolled a little over 1,570 first-time freshmen,” Flores said, “ and starting in fall 2011 we remained fairly steady at 1,800 freshmen until fall 2015, when we enrolled just under 1,900 freshmen.”

Flores said the number of applications to Sonoma State has gone up, but for now there is not a lot of room to increase acceptance.

“Enrollment will most likely remain steady,” Flores said. “An increase in enrollment will depend on new state funding. For the 2017-2018 academic year we will remain steady.”

The report divides California into 11 regions. Sonoma State falls into the North Coast region, which is one of two regions projecting flat enrollment through the 2024-2025 academic year. The report projects growth in eight other regions. It projects decline only in the Los Angeles region by 2 percent. The Upper Central Valley is expected to grow the most, with a projected 25 percent increase.

The report states every CSU campus should be able to accommodate the projected enrollment increase in their region. 

“For the fall through spring terms, UC and CSU report using their facilities at 84 percent and 90 percent of the guidelines, respectively,” the report said. “Both systems indicate having room to grow based on their campuses’ long-term plans.”

“CSU is projected to grow a total of 15,000 students. We estimate it could accommodate 92,000 in its existing facilities and another 139,000 students were the campuses to construct new facilities according to their long-range plans. We find that every CSU region could accommodate projected enrollment growth,” it said.

These projections seem to echo the concerns brought up by a Public Policy Institute of California report that states “If current trends in the labor market persist, by 2030 California will have a shortage of 1.1 million workers holding a bachelor’s degree.”

 That report suggests increasing college enrollment statewide to as one solution to this issue.