09:51 AM

Spring Semester Brings More Students to Campus

With the start of the spring semester, California State University San Marcos welcomes nearly 900 new undergraduate, teacher credential and graduate students to campus, bringing the total student headcount to 9,500, a 10 percent increase from spring 2010.“The last time Cal State San Marcos admitted and enrolled a class of new undergraduate students for a spring semester was 2008,” said Nathan Evans, director of Admissions and Recruitment at CSUSM. “We were able to provide access for more students, where as in the past, we had to restrict admission to our university.”The three-year freeze in spring enrollment at CSUSM happened as a result of system-wide budget cuts that placed enrollment caps on CSU campuses. Each fall semester, Cal State San Marcos had continued to fill its maximum target enrollment set forth by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Evans explained. Last summer, anticipating a state budget from California’s then-Governor Schwarzenegger that would restore some enrollment growth funding to the California State University, the CSU system opened admission to all 23 campuses for the spring 2011 term. The eight-week admissions period closed on September 27, but later reopened in November after CSUSM was identified by the CSU as a high-demand campus.The extension of the spring admissions period also expanded the scope of eligibility for prospective students, inviting both upper- and lower-division transfers, as well as first-time freshmen, to apply. After the campus closed spring admissions on January 7, a total of 2,673 applications were received, of which 1,600 were admitted and nearly 900 new students were enrolled.More than 97 percent of CSUSM’s new students are transfer students, with about half coming from Palomar, Mira Costa, and Mt. San Jacinto community colleges. Among CSUSM’s newest students is sophomore Molly Nolan.“Staying at a community college to complete my lower-division coursework would have meant a longer struggle for me,” said Nolan, who transferred from Palomar Community College with 39 units. In 2003, after graduating high school, Nolan began attending UC Santa Cruz, but shortly thereafter had to drop out due to a family emergency. For the last eight years, she’s bounced between community colleges, explaining that she found it hard to focus on her education in a junior college environment.“In November when I heard that CSUSM was accepting lower-division transfers, I applied the very next day and was admitted to the university in January,” said Nolan. The Escondido resident started her spring semester at CSUSM along with 9,500 students. “I’ve always been passionate about getting my bachelor’s degree, and the university environment at CSUSM is already making it easier for me to stay focused and keep my studies a top priority.”Even with the boost of adding some lower-division transfers, the majority of CSUSM students on campus today are upperclassmen. Seniors and juniors make up 62 percent of the student body, with sophomores and freshmen representing 17 and 14 percent of the campus. Seven percent of CSUSM’s students are currently credential or graduate students.New students mean more resources for the entire campus. One example of the added support new students bring to the campus is through student fees, which are included as part of each student’s tuition. At CSUSM, these fees help fund university athletics, student life and enrichment programs, health services, and the future construction of the Student Union building, slated to open in fall 2013.While the headcount of the campus reflects the total student body, a more valuable figure is the University’s full-time-equivalent (FTE) enrollment, which is used by the state to determine funding levels for public universities. The calculation for the undergraduate FTE of a CSU campus is measured by dividing the total semester credit hours attempted at a campus by 15. With more students enrolled in more course units, CSUSM’s full-time equivalence also rose to more than 7,500, a 14 percent increase over last spring’s FTE enrollment.The final tally of the University’s enrollment will happen on February 18, the official campus census day, but the continued demand for CSUSM is already evident as officials prepare for 2011-2012. CSUSM has already received 16,136 applications for fall admission, which is still accepting applications for graduate and teaching credential programs.