In recent years, we have expanded student access significantly, while also increasing graduation rates and gaining national recognition as an anchor institution for greater Los Angeles. One of the results of our successes has been a dramatic increase in applications for Cal State LA, and an equally dramatic increase in admissions and enrollments, in numbers that have exceeded our expectations and projections.
However, there has not been a commensurate increase in State funding for enrollment growth. Enrollment has increased by about 25 percent since 2012, but our enrollment funding has only increased by about 2.4 percent. The CSU System as a whole has received little enrollment growth funding since 2012, partly because annual State funding increases were limited, and because we focused our advocacy on the improvement of faculty and staff salaries, on hiring needs that support our ambitious Graduation Initiative 2025, and on important and daunting facilities and infrastructure needs. Therefore, while we are now serving close to 23,000 full-time equivalent students, our enrollment funding only supports 18,000 full-time equivalent students. Cal State LA has the highest number of unfunded students in the CSU System. Through the extraordinary dedication and innovation driven by our faculty, staff, and administrators, we have provided the exemplary quality of instruction and support that has allowed higher and higher number of students to cross the commencement stage each year.
However, that quality will be threatened if we do not mitigate the ongoing surge in enrollment. The most direct mitigation would be a significant increase in enrollment growth funding. The CSU faculty, staff, presidents, chancellor, and trustees will be advocating this year for a substantial increase in enrollment funding. At our current enrollment level, Cal State LA is underfunded by about $30 million dollars. Receiving that level of additional enrollment support, plus what would be required to accommodate new growth, is an unrealistic expectation. Therefore, we must take steps now to mitigate the surge in enrollment that has characterized recent years. Not doing so would be an unconscionable affront to future students, whom we would be admitting without the resources to serve them successfully; not doing so would lead to a further reduction in the tenure density of our faculty and a slowdown in staff hiring; not doing so would be telling the Governor and State legislators that enrollment growth does not require additional enrollment funding.
For these reasons, we have created the following plan, which revises our admission criteria, beginning Fall 2020. This proposal outlines our enrollment and budgetary challenges and our plans to evolve our current approach to impaction. We will continue our tradition of aligning admission criteria with success in the major. We will strengthen our partnership with regional community colleges, whose leadership has already committed to recruiting, advising, and teaching additional lower division students who plan to transfer to Cal State LA. We remain deeply committed to students in our local service area. Except in nursing, local students who meet our published minimum major-specific criteria will be admitted to Cal State LA.
This proposal was drafted in consultation with vice presidents, deans and associate deans, the Senate Executive Committee, department chairs, and many others across the university. While few embrace limiting admission, there is a growing understanding that enrolling thousands of unfunded students is neither fair to them nor to faculty and staff. We are now continuing our consultation, before submitting the final plan in March to the Chancellor’s Office. This consultation includes the opportunity for interested parties to attend public hearings, learn more about the proposal, and ask questions. Comments are welcome and can be submitted orally at the hearings or by completing the form below. Comments must be submitted by February 27 to allow time for review.
Our goal is to increase student access to Cal State LA as State funding allows. This plan will continue our commitment to the diverse communities that we serve and to increasing graduates. We look forward to hearing your thoughts as we move forward.
Many thanks for all that you do to make this a great University,
William A. Covino
Cal State LA has been impacted at the Freshman and Transfer class level since Fall 2010 combined with a growing number of impacted majors with Major-Specific Criteria at the Transfer level:
- Charter College of Education:
- Urban Learning - ITEP option
- Rehabilitation Services
- College of Arts and Letters:
- Television, Film and Media Studies
- College of Business and Economics:
- Business Administration (all options)
- Computer Information Systems
- College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology:
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Fire Protection Administration
- College of Natural and Social Sciences:
- Biology (including Microbiology)
- Chemistry (including Biochemistry)
- Xu College of Health and Human Services:
- Criminal Justice
- Kinesiology/Nutrition (including Nutrition Science, Exercise Science and Food Science)
- Public Health
- Communication Disorders
- Child Development
- Social Work
Cal State LA has confirmed and renewed its commitment to:
- Degree attainment as a source of upward mobility.
- Increasing the number of degrees awarded in LA.
- Providing access to freshmen and transfers.
- Increasing access and attainment by embracing ambitious graduation rates goals.
We celebrate our current successes:
- Cal State LA has been successful at both increasing access and attainment.
- Since 2012, Cal State LA has increased its student headcount by 27% and is now serving approximately 28,000 students.
- Since 2014, Cal State LA has increased its 6-year graduation rate for freshmen by 18% to almost 49%.
- Since 2014, Cal State LA has increased its transfer graduation rate by 5%: 75% of transfer students earn their degree in four years.
Our surge in enrollment has far exceeded our projections and expectations. We have rapidly become a destination campus, and have benefited from a substantial increase in college-ready local students. Applicants to Cal State LA increased from 40,694 in 2012 to 61,184 in 2018.
Unfortunately, our successes have led to funding challenges. We have the physical capacity to serve our almost 28,000 students, but we do not have the funding to support them. Adequate funding would require more than an additional $30M of recurring State funding annually. The CSU has received little enrollment growth funding during this period and last year received no recurring enrollment growth funding. We are funded for 18,005 Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES), but are currently serving 22,649 FTES, which equates to about 28,000 headcount students.
While Governor Newsom’s proposed budget for 2019-20 includes 2% enrollment growth funding, this would allow for only 360 additional funded students at Cal State LA. We would still be serving over 4,000 unfunded students. Unfunded enrollment is simply not sustainable. Without permanent enrollment funds, we lack funds to hire adequate tenure track faculty, academic advisors, student life professionals, and staff to support our infrastructure. Until adequate funding is available, we must reduce our unfunded enrollment. As a result, we must make changes to our admission approach.
Fall Enrollment (Headcount)
Our impaction changes implemented in Fall 2018 have been effective in controlling transfer enrollment while promoting major preparation prior to transfer. Our planned reduction in headcount, however, has been offset by increased unit load in support of our graduation goals resulting in little decrease in FTES and unfunded enrollment.
In contrast, our current freshman class level impaction approach has resulted in a large increase in local freshmen. Despite an incredible decrease in non-local freshman admission, the overall class size has grown.
Fall New Undergraduate Enrollment
Fall Local Freshman Applicants
Fall Non-Local Freshman Applicants
In order to decrease our enrollment and reduce our unfunded students, we must control our freshman class size while preserving access for transfer students. We will continue to strongly advocate for funding to support access to Cal State LA as we have the ability to serve 28,000 students if we receive funding. At the same time, we must continue to focus on achieving our ambitious graduation goals in order to create needed access in the future.
Our enrollment challenges combined with our commitment to graduate our diverse student body compels us to evolve our impaction approach. We will build on the changes already in place for transfer students - emphasizing lower-division major preparation, not selectivity. We will now bring our major-specific criteria approach to all majors at the freshman and transfer level promoting student success and timely graduation while providing enrollment control flexibility to serve us in times of required enrollment reduction, as well as in times of enrollment growth.
Over the Fall semester, campus leadership engaged various groups including President’s Cabinet, Deans, Associate Deans and the Academic Senate to better understand our developing enrollment and State funding trends. This information was also presented to our annual meeting of High School and Community College Counselors in October.
The campus discussed the challenges created by trying to serve more students than State funding supports. Campus leadership engaged the Chancellor’s Office to explore options. Once it became clear that the campus would need to modify our approach to admission impaction in order to manage enrollment to available State funding, this proposal was created and in-person meetings were held with many groups including:
- Senate Executive Committee
- Academic Senate
- Deans, Associate Deans and Center Directors
- Department Chairs
- Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, Chicanx Latinx University Association, Asian American Studies Advisory Board
- Student Life Council
- Administration and Finance Directors
- Advancement Leadership Team
- Presidents of Feeder Community Colleges
- LA Community College Superintendent
- Local community college leaders and faculty
There was broad understanding of the challenges created by insufficient State funding to serve our enrollment. We would prefer not to further limit admission, but we must reduce our unfunded enrollment. While this proposal would allow us the authority to reduce enrollment, we will only use that authority as dictated by funding. Increased State funding and reduced time-to-degree will allow us to admit more students in the future. Our ultimate goal is to meet our current 2018 enrollment capacity of approximately 28,000 students. We can eventually do this with sustained enrollment growth funding and by increasing our 2-year graduation rate for transfer students and our 4-year graduation rate for freshmen; higher graduation rates result in more spaces available for admission.
PROPOSED CHANGES IN IMPACTED PROGRAMS AND APPROACH
Beginning Fall 2020, Cal State LA is proposing to designate all majors, including pre-majors and undeclared, impacted at the freshman and transfer levels allowing for the creation of major-specific criteria for admission at all levels.
We will preserve our commitment to a strong local preference with clearly articulated admission criteria for local applicants – more a guarantee than a preference. The specific criteria for each major will be reviewed annually and published on the Cal State LA website in June, articulating the criteria for the upcoming Fall admission cycle (e.g. published in June 2019 for applicants applying in October and November 2019 for Fall 2020 admission). For Fall term admission, coursework and unit minimums must be completed no later than the prior Spring term. For Spring term admission, coursework and unit minimums must be completed no later than the prior Summer term.
Program impaction will allow us to:
- Control our enrollment.
- Preserve and ultimately increase access for transfer students.
- Further align our admissions criteria with student success.
- Encourage major exploration and academic preparation in high school and community college.
Admission Consideration for Freshman Applicants
- All Freshmen applicants will be required to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission.
- The University will specify minimum criteria for entrance to the major or pre-major based on High School college-preparatory GPA, an index combining HS GPA and SAT or ACT scores, and/or additional high school preparatory coursework that predicts success and timely progress in the major. Talent based majors may include the evaluation of an audition or portfolio.
- Applicants who are considered "local" based on their high school of graduation or military status, who meet the Cal State LA minimum eligibility requirements for the major will be offered admission thus providing more of an admission guarantee, not just a preference.
- Applicants who are considered "non-local" will be ranked based on the supplemental criteria and offered admission based on space available in the program.
- Should space be available after all applicants meeting the supplemental criteria have been considered, all remaining CSU eligible applicants will be ranked based on the CSU Eligibility Index with local applicants receiving a 0.25 GPA advantage and offered admission based on spaces available.
- CSU eligible applicants who are considered "local" based on their high school of graduation or military status, who are not offered admission to the major identified on their application, will be considered for admission as an "undeclared" student based on space available. Undeclared students will explore other appropriate majors through coursework and advising and must meet the major specified criteria in order "to declare" the major.
- A limited number of CSU eligible freshman applicants not otherwise offered admission will be admitted based on a holistic admission review including community involvement/leadership, overcoming significant hardship, and potential for degree completion.
Local Freshman applicants not offered admission:
- CSU eligible freshmen who are not offered admission will automatically be offered the opportunity to be considered by a non-impacted CSU campus if they have not already been offered admission to another CSU.
- Will be encouraged to attend one of our local designated community colleges and apply to Cal State LA when they have completed our published Major-Specific Criteria. Completion via an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) as applicable is preferred. Our Pathway programs will actively work with this group until they are ready for transfer.
♦ Our message to the local students not offered admission is:
► You are prepared and can succeed in college
► A Cal State LA degree is attainable by starting at a partner Community College
► Admission is possible "later, just not now."
Admission to the Major for Cal State LA Students in Pre-Majors and those seeking to change majors
- Freshman admission to some majors will be to a "pre-major" status. Continuation in the major will be subject to meeting specific lower division course and GPA requirements that indicate the student’s ability to succeed and complete the major.
- Freshman who begin as pre-majors and students interested in changing or adding a major must meet the major-specific criteria in order "to declare" the major.
- Major-specific criteria provide a clear path to entrance to the major and to timely degree completion.
- Major-specific criteria also serve as an early alert for students who may need to explore other major options.
- Except for Nursing, native Cal State LA students may "declare a major" if they meet the major-specific minimum cumulative GPA and required lower division preparation and are on-track for timely graduation (current policy requires completion within 120% of degree units – 144 for 120 unit degrees).
Admission Consideration for Transfers
- Transfer students must declare a specific major on the application and may not be considered Undeclared.
- Transfer applicants must meet minimum CSU Upper Division Transfer eligibility requirements to be considered. Admission determination is then based on major- specific criteria as outlined in a consistent criteria template including lower-division major preparation, General Education Courses, and minimum GPA. Talent based majors may also include the evaluation of an audition or portfolio.
- Except for Nursing, CSU eligible applicants who are considered "local" based on their community college or their military veteran status, will be offered admission if they meet the major-specific minimum cumulative GPA and required lower division preparation thus providing more of an admission guarantee, not just a preference.
- Non-local CSU eligible applicants who have met the major-specific minimum cumulative GPA and the minimum required lower division preparation will be admitted on a space-available basis based on their cumulative GPA and any additional preparation courses specified in the criteria.
- If space is available after all students meeting the minimum major GPA and preparation have been accommodated, then CSU eligible students without the minimum major preparation will be considered based on a ranking of the criteria completed with local applicants receiving a 0.25 GPA advantage.
- Students admitted to the major who have not completed the additional recommended transfer requirements must complete them in their first year at Cal State LA.
- Transfer AA/AS degree recipients: The Transfer AA/AS degree (AA-T/AS-T/ADT) curriculum is used in lieu of the specific course requirements listed in the criteria template, as well as any additional recommended preparation. Under current CSU guidelines, the cumulative GPA will be increased by 0.1 and this "calculated GPA" will be applied to the major-specific minimum GPA and to any GPA used in the ranking of applicants.
- Applicants to Nursing: Local applicants and Cal State LA native students will receive additional bonus points in the holistic scoring rubric for admission to the nursing program.
- We anticipate that the 2020 incoming class may be reduced by up to 600 students from immediately prior classes, returning to the size of our Fall 2014 incoming class.
- The proposed changes should have no disparate impact on any group.
|Group||Fall 18 current admissions
(% of class)
Fall 18 under proposal
Our proposal continues an extremely strong preference for students with "local" preference. In fact, our preference is more of a guarantee. We propose no changes in the High Schools that receive local designation.
High Schools with Local Preference
Cal State LA proposes to continue the existing defined high schools receiving "local preference."
- 265 high schools are located within the required local area as shown
16 additional schools were previously designated based on institutional relationships including the Alliance high schools and High Tech High School
However, we currently allow transfer applicants from some community colleges outside of our required service area to receive "local preference." Some of these colleges are at a substantial distance from campus and much closer to other CSUs. This is increasingly difficult to defend to other community colleges and their students, particularly just to our south. As a result, the following refinement is proposed.
Community Colleges with Local Preference
Cal State LA proposes to refine the Community Colleges receiving "local preference."
- We will continue to include all 7 Community Colleges located within our geographic local area.
- We will also maintain local status for Santa Monica College and LA Southwest due to their proximity to the border and distance from other CSU’s.
- Four who are further from our border and are closer to other CSU’s would no longer have local preference: Pierce College, LA Valley College, LA Mission College and LA Harbor College.
Others Receiving Local Preference
Cal State LA will continue to grant local preference to Veterans, active-duty, reservists, National Guard and recruited athletes, regardless of schools attended.
A presentation on the key features of our admission criteria proposal and an opportunity for questions and comments will occur:
Date: February 20, 2019
Time: 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Location: Pasadena City College
Westerbeck Recital Hall – CA 140
Date: February 21, 2019
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: California State University, Los Angeles
University-Student Union Theater
Date: February 22, 2019
Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Location: East Los Angeles College
Multipurpose Room (F5-201)
We welcome your feedback on how we can improve our plan. Please click the link below and submit your comment form no later than February 27. We will not be able to respond directly to individual comments. We ask you to include an email address so that we can contact you should clarification be needed. Please be assured that all comments will be carefully reviewed and considered as we finalize our plan.
Thanks for your time and support of Cal State LA.
Click to submit Comments on the Cal State LA Admission Criteria Proposal