California Budget Woes Put Students in a Crunch

Barry Lenson

Cal State Students

Last year, a friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles said something to me that I had never heard before.

“My son Matt was accepted at Cal State in Long Beach, but now we are waiting to see whether his acceptance gets revoked, due to California woes. It happened to a few of Matt’s friends.”

It was the first time I ever heard a story like that. Usually when you get accepted to a college, you can assume you are really going there. But according to the new rules of budget crunches, that honorable tradition was apparently going away.

That was last year. This is this year, and my jaw dropped when I read an article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. That article, in the August 22 edition, reported that things are even iffier this year for students who would like to enroll at any of Cal State’s 23 universities for the spring 2011 session.
Here are the dimensions of the problem . . .

From August 1 through 31, students are welcome to apply for admission to any of the 23 Cal State schools. The Cal State schools expect to accept about 30,000 new students during that period – many of them transfer students.

However, if the state’s $365 million educational budget does not get approved, the students who were admitted will then receive letters informing them that they cannot be admitted for the spring 2011 term.  They will then have the option of getting their application fees returned, or deferring enrollment until fall 2011.

There are no fingers of blame to point in this situation. A budget crisis is a crisis, right?

Yet the fact remains that the situation is forcing tens of thousands of students to live in a state of limbo about their educational future.
The Los Angeles Times article quotes Cheryl Armstrong, transfer center director at Los Angeles City College: "For students, it's a constant state of flux. We understand there's a budget crisis but when you think about the goal of the academic process, it's really an unfortunate situation."
Unfortunate, to say the least. And once again, students are in the crunch.

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