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The California State University system reported that more than 790,000 students applied for fall 2015, the largest number of applications received by the 23-campus system. For the sixth consecutive year, the CSU has experienced unprecedented numbers of applications. Fall 2015 shows an increase of around 30,000 applications over last year.
In comparison, University of California applications to at least one of the nine campuses for fall 2015 reached 193,873. These numbers reveal a 5.8 percent increase in applications over fall 2014. The number of students applying to the UC system has risen for 11 consecutive years.
If you divide the number of applications per campus, the numbers come out to an average of 34,347 for each CSU campus and 21,541 for each UC campus.
Currently, 96 percent of CSU students come from California, whereas close to 90 percent of UC undergraduates are also California residents, according to UC’s admissions page.
This percentage reveals the CSU’s mission to serve California high school and community college students is succeeding.
The CSU has also been successful in serving more minorities and underrepresented groups. The CSU’s external relations — a branch that reaches out to historically underserved communities such as African American, Asian American and Hispanic/Latino communities — is tasked with providing information on financial support and the steps in getting to college.
Through Feria de Educación Education Fair, CSU Super Sunday and the Journey to Success program and regional K-16 collaborations, the CSU is working to increase college readiness and access for students from historically underserved communities.
Among those partnerships with CSU is the Parent Institute for Quality Education, which Stephanie Thara, a public affairs communications specialist at the Chancellor’s Office, said has a presence at CPP.
“CPP is actually really strong with the PIQE partnership, and they work with local middle schools and local high schools […] to tell them about [the] university,” said Thara.
One way that CPP outreaches to the Hispanic community is through campus tours. According to Thara, these tours are important because they communicate the value of CSU education as well as the value of a higher education.
CSU not only has the highest minority of Hispanic students in California but the most Hispanic students, said Thara. A CSU press release stated the number of Hispanic and Latino undergraduate applicants rose from 104,486 to 109,895 in the last year. As a result, CSU reported more than 60 percent of undergraduate degrees earned by Latinos in California are awarded by CSU, which also has a hand in nearly 50 percent of the bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans.
The CSU also preps students from all backgrounds through their “How to Get to College” program. The CSU sends out posters to high schools and middle schools, and these resources help inform students about what classes they need to take, and even provide students with step-by-step directions from middle school to senior year of high school about how to get into a CSU.
CSU outreach is also found in college fairs throughout California, all the way from Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south.
“We want to make sure the CSU education is accessible to everyone,” said Thara.
The high number of applications could be accounted for due to CSU’s new outreach efforts on social media to inform students about the CSU and higher education.
For the first time, the CSU had a Google+ hangout on Oct. 9 for the fall 2015 application period. CSU Director of Enrollment Management Services Nathan Evans explained the application process and answered any questions applicants had. In addition, any questions about admissions were answered on the CSU’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
CSU Mentor, a program students use to apply to CSU, also added a new feature: a degree database that goes through all degrees the 23 CSU campuses offer and a transfer requirements, so community college students can more easily transfer from a CSU without taking extra classes.
“There’s actually a way for you to know […] you’re only going to take these classes if you want this degree, so it saves students money and time,” said Thara.
However, despite a growth in applications, capacity issues persist due to state funding limitations. If Governor Brown approves the CSU Board of Trustees request for a 3 percent net enrollment increase for the 2015-16 academic year by mid-June, the system would be able to enroll approximately 12,000 additional students.