EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SDSU COMMUNITY

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by SDSU President Stephen L. Weber
 

Sept. 21, 2009 (San Diego) -- As  a direct result of devastating state budget cuts of $571 million, the California State University is reducing enrollment system-wide this year and next by 40,000 undergraduate students. Over the same period, San Diego State will be reducing its enrollment by 4,588 undergraduates.

 

These cuts will have a drastic impact on thousands of students and on the future of California. For the past decade, we have been forced to turn-away tens of thousands of CSU-qualified applicants from outside SDSU's service area, which includes all high schools and community colleges in San Diego County south of State Route 56 and all of Imperial County.

 

Now, state budget cuts will make it necessary to also turn away a limited number of qualified students from within SDSU's service-area. 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.

 

As SDSU looks to manage its increasingly limited resources, we have been forced to make some painful decisions. Our challenges include maintaining accessibility and academic excellence, preserving our diversity which is an important strength of SDSU; and continuing to improve our graduation rate which is now above the national average and among the best for urban public universities. During the past decade, SDSU is proud to have made steady progress in each of these areas. Faced with these Draconian budget cuts we are struggling to maintain the university's advances while serving students as best we can with increasingly limited resources.

 

To manage the unprecedented challenges California's budget situation has created - SDSU will be making changes to its undergraduate admissions process for fall 2010. These changes include:

 

* For first-time freshmen: SDSU is impacting all majors and pre-majors (including undeclared) on campus in order to better manage enrollment and ensure students can get the classes they need to graduate. Applicants will be required to apply to a pre-major or undeclared and will be admitted based on their CSU Eligibility Index (calculated from grades and SAT/ACT scores). Students from SDSU's service area will be given extra eligibility index points as part of SDSU's commitment to the community. (We cannot yet state what that credit will be until we know what our "cut off" scores will be; they are based in large part on the number of qualified applicants.)

 

* For transfer students: SDSU will continue to honor the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) as its first admission priority but will require that applicants complete 100 percent of their transfer work at local community colleges, have completed all general education and preparation for their major, and have a minimum GPA of 2.4 or the required GPA for their major (whichever is higher). This is intended, in part, to create more opportunities for local-area students.

 

Note: SDSU will continue to honor its highly successful "Compact for Success" with the Sweetwater Union High School District and the City Heights Collaborative with Hoover High School. All students who complete the program will be admitted.

 

Enrolling both out-of-area and local students is in the best interest of all our students and the entire university community. In addition to maintaining our commitment to access as a state-supported university it:

 

* Creates a more vibrant learning environment with students who bring different backgrounds and perspectives.
 

* Is essential to SDSU's continued transformation into a more residential campus community. Beginning in fall 2010, all first-time freshmen from outside SDSU's service area will be required to live on campus. Studies show students living in residence halls and participating in SDSU's residential education program perform better academically than those who live off campus.

* And, at a time when resources are constrained, it ensures SDSU's limited enrollment slots are awarded to the students who are best prepared to succeed.

 

I encourage you to understand how and why SDSU is making these changes to its admissions process. Additional information including a Q&A is available on this website (www.sdsu.edu/enrollmentinfo). Lastly, we encourage you to contact us with a question or comment.

 

Thanks for your continued commitment to access and excellence in spite of the budget challenges we face at San Diego State.

 

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. If you wish to submit an editorial for consideration, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.