Fresno State Creates New Program for Students Close to Home

It doesn't lack for students but is trying the same strategy as private colleges.

June 1, 2020

While walking his dog, Joseph I. Castro ran into the parents of a student who had left the Fresno, Calif., area for San Francisco for college. Like many parents, they wanted their child close to home after the pandemic. So they asked Castro, president of California State University, Fresno, whether the university had any special programs for students who might want to attend college closer to home.

"That's when I got the idea," Castro said.

A number of private institutions -- Centre, Franklin & Marshall and Muhlenberg Colleges, and Furman University -- have reopened admissions for the year for students close to campus. Castro thought there was merit in trying it in California. So he created a program for the four counties surrounding Fresno State.

Fresno State has just started the program and doesn't know how many students it will end up with. Last fall, 1,700 students from the local area attended a different California State University campus.

And the university isn't responding to a shortfall of students. It is currently expecting 6,265 new students in the fall, a 20 percent increase. That's a 5 percent increase for freshmen and a 54 percent increase for transfers from community colleges.

But despite those increases, the university has the capacity to educate more students, especially those who will not need to live on campus. (The California State system is planning for a mostly online semester.)

Castro expects a few hundred students. Many may stay only a semester, but nonetheless Castro is pleased. "We're helping our neighbors," he said.


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