While a shuffle at the beginning of the semester is normal as college students settle into their schedules, some California State University, Stanislaus students may be facing more serious enrollment problems than expected. Trying to avoid financial penalties from the CSU Chancellor’s office for over-enrollment of full time students, CSUS is enforcing stricter enrollment rules.
Each year the CSU Chancellor’s office designates a target enrollment for Full Time Equivalent Students at each campus and provides a five percent margin should campuses exceed that target number. With a target of 6,877 annual full-time students, CSUS weighed in at 104.6 percent of the target as of Jan. 24. Despite only a .4 percent increase in enrollment between fall 2012 and fall 2013, there was a three percent anomalous growth in full time students in the fall which means that while the number of students attending CSUS did not increase, their workloads did.
“We traditionally have not had this problem. In the past we’ve been chasing FTES and trying to hit targets, now we have more because of a variety of factors, including the economy, we have more students than we have FTES to supply to them,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs James Strong.
The increase in student workload is cause for concern because CSUS will have to pay $6,812.67 to the Chancellor for every FTES over the target. In order to compensate for the increased enrollment, on Oct. 22, 2013 students were notified that the university would be allowing students to register in no more than 17 units instead of the customary 18 units. Students were encouraged to enroll as soon as possible and on Dec. 18 were told to not expect to be able to change their classes after the start of the semester as there would more than likely only be one day to do so, instead of the customary week. The change in enrollment has placed the onus on students to be proactive with their schedule and not rely on last minute class additions to complete requirements.
“The change has increased the stress level of getting classes, you really have to know ahead of time what you’re doing,” said CSUS student Juan Villapudua. “You have to go out there and help yourself and I think that is what is expected of you when you enter college. “
While CSUS is making necessary adjustments for the spring semester, long term changes could be in the works if the FTES do not decrease by the Feb. 21 census date. Changes could include not admitting new students for spring semesters and enforcing rules, such as having faculty drop students that do not attend courses in the first few weeks, more strictly.
“In the future we are going to try and manage the heads and the unit load more closely so that we can make sure we have more slack in the system and we’re not bumping up against 105 percent, but that we’re just a little bit over the target,” said Strong.