Enrollment "Tidal Wave" Arrives

After seven consecutive years of growth, student enrollment at the California State University has reached a record total of 388,734 students. The fall 2001 headcount reflects an increase of more than 20,000 students, or 5.5 percent, over fall 2000.

Although the CSU had anticipated an increase in its enrollment, the state's slowing economy and the subsequent return of many students to higher education brought this fall's enrollment to unexpected highs. The CSU's 2001 enrollment exceeds the level of current funding and surpasses projections made by the California Postsecondary Education Commission when it last assessed the higher education enrollment boom known as "Tidal Wave II."

"Tidal Wave II is not simply out on the horizon," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "It has already washed over our beaches."

The CSU, which has grown by over 69,000 students since 1994, continues to serve its bulging student population by maximizing use of its facilities, relying more on nontraditional and technology-based course formats, and offering more evening, weekend, and summer sessions. CSU officials hope to address some of the system's new enrollment-related funding needs in next year's budget. The CSU has requested a 4 percent increase in budgeted enrollment for 2002/03.

"During the coming months, we will be working with the CSU presidents to set enrollment targets that both provide access for eligible students and take into account budgetary restraints," said Chancellor Reed.

Although the CSU was budgeted at 305,854 FTES (full-time equivalent students) for 2001/02, the campuses estimate that they will actually serve 314,276 FTES this year. This represents almost 8.2 percent (23,722 FTES) more than the 290,554 FTES served during the 2000/01 academic year. The number of FTES is calculated by dividing total student credit units attempted by 15, which is the average workload for students pursing a degree in four years.

Around the system, 19 of 22 campuses reported enrollment increases. The system's most populous campus, San Diego State University, experienced the largest gain, with 2,562 additional students bringing its total headcount enrollment to 34,171.

Other campuses reporting large increases in the number of students attending include CSU Northridge (2,382), CSU Long Beach (2,341), CSU Fullerton (1,976), San Jose State University (1,362), CSU Sacramento (1,209), and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (1,201).

A report giving fuller details about the fall term opening enrollment can be viewed at www.calstate.edu/as/inbrief.shtml

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Last Updated: 8 November 2001

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