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Cal State Fullerton Hits Enrollment Limit; Application Cutoff Is Today

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Times Staff Writer

Cal State Fullerton has reached its self-imposed enrollment ceiling of about 24,500 students and will accept no more applications for the fall semester after today, university officials announced Thursday.

Unlike previous years, the university is allowing virtually no growth in enrollment for the fall semester beginning Aug. 29 because of low levels of state funding, campus officials said. Cal State Fullerton had 24,413 students last fall.

The university announced its no-growth plan in July, shortly after the new state budget was signed into law. That budget, while allowing slight increases in per-student funding, did not allow enough money for Cal State Fullerton to admit a higher number of students this year, said Jack W. Coleman, the university’s vice president for academic affairs.

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Today’s cutoff for applications mainly affects transfer students and upperclassmen, university officials said. Enrollment of freshmen in most disciplines had been halted earlier this year. Enrollment of new students in some heavy-demand courses, such as business, was closed as early as February.

“Basically, we closed applications in many courses earlier than we’ve ever done before,” said James Blackburn, Cal State Fullerton’s director of admissions and records.

Blackburn said Thursday that while about the same number of students will be on campus this fall as last year, the 1988 students will be taking more courses, on the average. He said this increase in courses-per-student consumes the modest growth money the state allowed Cal State Fullerton this year.

Cal State Fullerton’s lid on growth this year is already being felt at area community colleges. Neighboring Fullerton College has experienced a 3.5% increase in students this fall, which college spokesman Al Busch has partly attributed to Cal State Fullerton’s enrollment ceiling.

Originally, Cal State Fullerton officials had hoped enrollment would grow to about 24,800 students this year. The state budget, as it passed the Legislature, would have given Cal State Fullerton enough funds to launch a new satellite campus on vacant land at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo and enroll about 300 new students, Blackburn said.

Gov. George Deukmejian, however, vetoed the money for the Cal State Fullerton south county campus. Deukmejian, in his veto message, said the Legislature had overspent money in other categories and that the state could not immediately afford the proposed new satellite campus.

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Blackburn said that the brakes applied by Cal State Fullerton earlier this year had enabled it to hold the line on enrollment for this fall. He said the shutdown today of all fall applications is not unusually early.

“What was unusual was how early we closed applications for such subjects as business,” he said. “We closed applications for business majors on Feb. 10, and we closed applications for communications majors on April 29.”

While the overall number of students will be about the same as last year, university officials said, there will be some changes reflected in the student body. For instance, campus officials said the number of freshmen at Cal State Fullerton will go up about 4.5% this fall.

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