You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

A new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity provides a campus-by-campus analysis of pandemic-induced enrollment shifts in the California State University system in an effort to identify which institutions have fared better and why. 

The analysis by the California-based organization, which advocates for equity in college attendance, affordability and completion, found that although overall systemwide enrollment has dropped by about 27,900 students, or 6.5 percent, since 2019, enrollment at four campuses—San Diego State, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach— grew by between 1,000 and 2,200 students at each.

The four universities where enrollment increased tended to be more selective in their admissions process and to invest more in the recruitment and support of Latino learners, who make up the youngest and fastest-growing population in the state. 

Efforts to reduce administrative barriers that impeded student progress, such as streamlining forms and processes, were also found to be beneficial, according to the analysis.

A press release about the report said many of the practices that were credited for helping grow or stabilize enrollment also aligned with the priorities of the CSU system’s Graduation Initiative 2025, an effort to boost graduation rates and eliminate disparities for minority students.

Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, explained in the release that although many campuses in the Cal State system made efforts to achieve equitable enrollment rates and put in place supports for Latino, Black and other underrepresented and first-generation students, it is important to ensure they continue to do so in order “to account for student vulnerabilities during challenging times.”

“Our recommendations for providing this support included in this report address efforts that can be undertaken by campus and system leaders, as well as policymakers, to graduate qualified and educated state citizens who are the future of California’s prosperity,” she said.

The report calls for CSU system leaders to improve analytical and technical support for campuses in order to understand student enrollment patterns and assess the value of various policies and interventions and to strengthen the focus on retention. It urges state policymakers to maintain commitments to increased funding and financial aid and to form a statewide coordinating body to better plan for appropriate higher education capacity.