Local Republicans vote “no” on measures to help local college students
June 3, 2010 (Sacramento) -- The California State Assembly has approved two bills by Assemblymember Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove) that would change an admissions policy change at San Diego State University (SDSU) which denied admission to 1,740 local students who met all CSU requirements. AB 2402 calls for increased transparency when California State University (CSU) campuses change admissions policies that affect local students. AB 2401 would formally reinstate local admissions priority for CSU campuses to students in the region who meet admissions requirements.
San Diego County Democratic legislators Marty Block, Mary Salas, and Lori Saldaña voted for the measures. Assembly Republicans Joel Anderson, Martin Garrick, Kevin Jeffries and Diane Harkey voted against the bills, which will provide opportunities for more local students to attend college and save money while living at home.
“It is unacceptable for hardworking, qualified high school students who have dedicated themselves to their education to be turned away because of a decision that was made at the last minute, without any consideration for how it might affect their academic future,” Block. “This legislation will not only increase transparency when these decisions are made in the future, it will also ensure that eligible students are able to access higher education and are not unjustly disenfranchised from their local CSU campuses. We need to be doing everything possible to continue keeping college accessible for California’s next generation of students.”
SDSU recently implemented its admissions changes without notifying the surrounding community that would have been affected. Because students had planned their academic curriculum for the original admissions criteria, many students found that the eligibility requirements they worked for years to meet were, just weeks before applications opened, no longer acceptable.
The decision was made so late in the application cycle that this lack of notification leaves countless students in a potential state of limbo, as they complete their requirements for guaranteed admission even though that “guarantee” has now been eliminated.
SDSU president Stephen Weber faulted state budget cuts as the rationale for cutting local student admissions. The campus can generate more money by admitting more out-of-area students who pay dorm fees to live on campus.
AB 2402 would require CSU campuses to notify the public of any change in their admissions policy for students within a campus’ local service area. The procedural transparency required, before changes to admissions criteria are approved, dictates that the CSU must provide notice of proposed changes in admissions on the Web site of the affected campus and in three local print newspapers. The CSU would also be required to meet with local stakeholders, hold three public hearings that solicit public comment and post the public comments with the university’s response on its Web site.
Additionally, any change in admission criteria approved by the trustees may only become effective one year after the decision is finalized.
AB 2401 would formally recognize the long-standing CSU “local service area” policy. AB 2401 establishes that priority admission be given to qualified students within a campus’ local service area. This bill establishes guidelines for CSU admission practices, including the formal codification of local service areas and specifies that local students receive priority admission.
These bills now go to the Senate for consideration.