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Hoping to transfer to Cal State LA next spring? You'll have to wait

Luckman Center at Cal State University-Los Angeles is seen in this stock photo. Too many qualified fall applicants this year mean the university can't afford to allow new students in the spring, hurting community college transfer students. Steve Devol via Flickr Creative Commons

Community College students working towards transferring to California State University Los Angeles in the spring of 2018 are out of luck.

The university told staff last week that it’s closing spring admission in 2018 in part because of a large increase in applications for the fall semester from students who’ve met CSU requirements. This is the third year that the Los Angeles campus has not admitted students in the spring. CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Northridge have also suspended spring admission.

“We’ve experienced almost unimagined increases in the number of applications,” explained Cal State LA Provost Lynn Mahoney. "We’re now averaging over 60,000 applications when just five years ago we would average in the high 40,000s."

That’s created a domino effect. The extra several hundred students the campus is admitting this coming fall took slots that would normally open in the spring, mostly t0 community college transfer students.

“There will be some disappointed community college partners,” Mahoney said. The campus enrolled 878 transfer students in the spring of 2015.

Some Cal State LA faculty are worried that making those community college students hit the pause button in their higher education will result in a full stop.

“A job might come along that’s hard to pass up because I have to pay off my student loans and then somehow I never get to the CSU,” said CSULA professor Molly Talcott, who’s also the campus president for the California Faculty Association.

Talcott and Mahoney said more funding from Sacramento would solve the problem. 

Campuses are planning next year’s budgets based on Governor Jerry Brown’s latest CSU funding proposal, which would increase the university system’s budget by $155 million. That's about half the increase CSU had requested.

“If the funding is not there we cannot hire the faculty, we cannot create the classes, we cannot move students forward toward degree,” said Eric Forbes, the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Support Services at the CSU Chancellor’s Office. CSU is the largest public university system in the United States.

Forbes said he’s watching other campuses and wouldn't be surprised if they also suspend spring admission. About 10,000 transfer students entered Cal State campuses in the fall of 2016.

Students could still enroll at other Cal State campuses that aren’t in as high demand. Administrators at CSU Dominguez Hills, in L.A. County’s South Bay, have seen community college students who can’t get in move several hours away to enroll at CSU Bakersfield or CSU Channel Islands.

“It’s harder at a community college level because often times their families are established here, ,” said Brandy McLelland, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at CSU Dominguez Hills. "But, yeah, there are students who are relocating for those purposes to be able to continue their schooling."