CSU trustees order halt to new admissions

The 23-campus California State University has blocked new admissions for the spring of 2010, citing a $584 million budget shortage.

Typically, about 35,000 new undergraduate, graduate and transfer students are admitted for the spring semester.

Exceptions include students who have completed their undergraduate training and who are going for a California teaching credential, and a limited number of students at campuses that have transfer agreements with local community colleges.

"We're not taking any spring 2010 admissions," said Claudia Keith, a spokeswoman at the CSU headquarters in Long Beach. "For all intents and purposes, we are closed for spring 2010." Currently enrolled students will remain in the institution; the moratorium applies to new admissions. In addition to the closure, CSU trustees on Tuesday approved a 20 percent fee increase on students. The trustees' vote was 17-1.

CSU serves 450,000 students across the state.

The system relies largely upon the state's General Fund – which includes the government's treasury of personal and corporate income taxes – for its support. But the state, plagued by the recession and political impasse that blocked passage of a state budget, has faced a $26 billion-plus deficit, nearly a third of the entire General Fund.

This week, the governor and legislative leaders reached agreement on a spending plan that, among other things, cuts public schools and colleges by more than $9 billion.

The 20 percent fee hike on undergraduates amounts to about $672 annually, and raises the yearly cost to $4,827. The system also is drawing up a plan for personnel to take two unpaid furlough days per month. The furloughs are similar to those ordered months ago for state employees by Gov. Schwarzenegger; a third furlough day for state workers has since been added.

Fee increases included $780 for teacher-credential students and $828 for graduate students. The increase is in addition to the $306 fee increase (fulltime undergraduates) adopted in May.

"There has never been such a steep drop in state support in such as short amount of time," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "We are in the midst of a financial meltdown and need to take immediate action in order to preserve our institutions.

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