Education

Fresno State reopens spring application period

Fresno State is open again for spring semester applications as the California State University system starts rebuilding enrollment under an improved budget.

The state's new spending plan restores $199 million to the 23-campus CSU and also provides $60.6 million for enrollment growth.

Thursday, CSU officials said that turnaround -- after several years of deep budget cuts -- means campuses like Fresno State will have more room for students in the winter and spring terms.

Fresno State, which had closed for spring semester applications on Sept. 27, has a new deadline of Oct. 31. The university is open to applications from upper-division transfer students, graduate and post-baccalaureate students and returning students.

Prospective students can apply online at www.csumentor.edu. The campus also is taking fall 2011 applications.

Fresno State officials say they expect to bring in 1,100 to 1,200 new students for the spring -- several hundred more than projected a few months ago. Most new students are expected to be transfers, and those from the region will have priority.

Paul Oliaro, vice president for student affairs at Fresno State, said officials will take another look at some earlier applications.

"This does open the door to some of those students who had work in progress" or were denied for capacity reasons, he said.

Oliaro said the campus also will add classes to the spring schedule. He didn't have any firm numbers because those plans are still being developed.

Systemwide, CSU officials hope to increase enrollment by up to 30,000 new students. Like Fresno State, other campuses will restore some spring course sections that had fallen victim to the budget squeeze.

Eric Forbes, CSU's director of enrollment management services, said campuses must expand class schedules for the benefit of both current and new students.

"We're putting the resources where they're needed," he said.

Over the past two years, the 433,000-student CSU has been on a cost-cutting tear provoked by state budget cuts of about $625 million. Officials managed to bridge budget shortfalls in part by reducing enrollment, implementing furloughs, boosting student fees and cutting class sections.

While the budget is better this year, CSU officials note that the $2.62 billion in state funding is about the same level as 2005-06.

The system also recently received $106 million in one-time federal stimulus cash that will help with payroll and free up other money for enrollment and classes.

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