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SFSU's enrollment reaches historic high

September 19, 2003

Photo of three students walking across campusNearly 30,000 students are taking classes at San Francisco State University, the largest enrollment in the school's 104-year history.

University officials say a coordinated recruitment campaign coupled with a weak economy, fewer job prospects and Tidal Wave II -- the offspring of baby boomers now old enough to attend college and the overall increase in college participation rates -- have contributed to the record numbers. As of Sept. 16 enrollment was 29,500 and the number could climb to 29,700 by the end of the month after the final deadline to add classes.

Last year nearly 28,378 students studied at SFSU. This year's total number of students shows a nearly 4 percent increase over fall 2002.

"The economy still has an impact on growth but we have also improved our outreach to prospective students leading more students to think of us a destination because they know this is a great place to attend school," said Jo Volkert, associate vice president for enrollment planning and management. "We also are more accessible through the SFSU Web site, making it easier for students to get information."

New first-time freshman enrollments are 6 percent higher than last year and new upper division transfer student enrollments jumped 8 percent this year. In addition, continuing student figures are up 11 percent primarily because fall 2002 was a phenomenal year for new students at all levels.

Despite the cuts SFSU is offering about 3,707 course sections this fall, up from 3,676 last year and 3,569 in fall 2001. Keeping the cuts far away from the classrooms and the academic program is a top priority for University officials.

"We're looking at our reports and almost every class is full," said Volkert.

The jump in SFSU enrollment comes as California's dismal budget woes have forced the California State University system to cut $304 million from its spending plan. Those cuts have trickled down to each of the 23 campuses and SFSU's budget was cut by $25.6 million. As a result, for the spring 2004 semester community college transfer students must have at least 56 transferable units to be accepted to the University.

The deadline for undergraduates to apply for spring 2004 was Sept. 15, the earliest deadline ever. Graduate applications will be accepted through Nov. 15, though applicants should consult the Web sites for specific departments which may have set earlier deadlines.

While this year's budget is tight there are strong indications that finances could be even worse next year. The University will begin accepting applications for the fall 2004 semester on Oct. 1. For details, see the prospective student site.

-- Christina Holmes








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Last modified September 19, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs