A record number of students applied to attend Humboldt State University next year, but acceptances will still be limited, campus officials said.
More than 13,000 prospective students applied to HSU for fall 2013, including more than 11,000 first-time freshman students, a nearly 20 percent increase from last year, said HSU director of admissions Scott Hagg.
For the fourth year in a row, the entire California State University system saw a record number of applications from new students. As of Nov. 30, 763,517 potential freshman, transfer, credential and graduate students had applied across the CSU for the fall 2013, a 12 percent increase over last year.
But as HSU, and the CSU as a whole, struggles under years of budget cuts, enrollment next year will remain flat, Hagg said. With the passage of Proposition 30 in November - governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure to fund education - the California State University system avoided an additional $250 million mid-year budget cut.
Without the cut, the CSU has still seen about $1 billion - or 40 percent - slashed from its budget since the 2007-2008 academic year.
System wide, universities had implemented cost-saving tactics in case the Proposition 30 didn’t pass - including a $249 tuition hike for this fall and a suspension of student enrollment increases.
With Proposition 30’s passage, HSU was recently able to refund the $249 increase, said HSU spokesman Paul Mann.
The university also avoided further cuts to enrollment for next fall.
"If we had to cut more money, we would have had to turn away more students," Mann said.
Hagg said he is excited about the increase of applicants, in part because HSU can be more selective with who it admits. His office now uses a more selective formula that requires a higher grade point average and test scores. Students from Humboldt County and surrounding areas need to meet the baseline CSU admission requirement for admittance, he said.
Out of the more than 11,000 first-time freshman applicants, Hagg said his office has already admitted just under 7,000, which is the same amount admitted last year with a smaller applicant pool. Of those accepted last year, about 17 percent ended up enrolling at HSU.
Hagg said the university has worked hard to establish itself, and increase its visibility. It’s paid off with the second-highest application increase from last year of all CSU schools.
"Next year, we’ll be having the same conversation," said Hagg, who expects as many as 13,000 to 14,000 freshman applicants.
Refunding the Proposition 30 fee hike proved to be a laborious process, due to various ways students pay for college, Mann said.
Associate vice president of business services Carol Lorentzen said her office completed the process about one week ago.
More than 4,500 students were issued refunds manually by going in and adjusting their financial aid accounts, she said. In some instances, the university credited students’ spring semester tuition fees. In other cases, HSU issued a refund to a third party that paid for a student’s education - like the U.S. department of veterans affairs. Sometimes, Lorentzen said, they just had to issue the student a check.
Annual tuition fees for fulltime undergraduate students will now revert back to $5,472, the same rate as in the 2011-2012 academic year, according to a CSU press release.
Luke Ramseth can be reached at 441-0509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.