Even with top grades and extracurricular activities, students may find it difficult to gain acceptance to or graduate from a four-year university after recent cuts to higher education budgets.
The month of March has been particularly bad for colleges and universities nationwide, as budget negotiations have left many institutions of higher education in the red.
Colleges in California, Florida and have been hit hardest while many other states are facing financial difficulties of their own including New Hampshire, Michigan and Connecticut.
California’s State University (CSU) system announced Monday that they would close the admission process for nearly all of its 23 campuses for the Spring 2013 semester, affecting almost 16,000 students wishing to attend.
In addition, every student applying for the 2013-2014 school year will be waitlisted while officials await Gov. Brown’s proposed budget initiative to increase taxes in November. If the measure is defeated, officials will be forced to cut enrollment by an additional 20,000-25,000 students.
“By limiting enrollment we are able to concentrate on our current students,” said Mike Uhlenkamp, CSU spokesman.
Current CSU students have seen their fees rise while their class sizes have increased and their course options have become more limited; all of which has helped to increase expected graduation time from four to six years, according to Uhlenkamp.
The CSU system has already lost approximately $1 billion, or 33%, in the last 4 years due to state budget cuts.
The state of Florida, meanwhile, cut $300 million from its higher education budget earlier this month making this the sixth straight year that Sunshine State students will face cuts to their colleges.
At least half of those cuts will be replaced with money from individual state college reserves and increased tuition fees, however.
The University of New Hampshire is also in dire straits after their state legislature slashed their budget by half, or $32.5 million.
Students in Connecticut are also feeling the crunch, as funding for their college system has gotten so bad that their community college system has merged with their state university system in an effort to share funds.
Michigan and Alabama are in danger of losing their College Access Challenge Grants, which are designed to help low-income students.
The slashed education budgets have a significant impact on today’s college students, like EJ Tormes, a Los Angeles Pierce College student who was planning on transferring to a Cal State in the spring.
Those students still struggling at a community college, like Tormes, have seen the time it takes to transfer increase because they can’t find the classes they need and are now burdened with a more difficult transfer process.
“If they’re not going to accept me, what am I going to do,” said Tormes.
That question was also on the lips of Richard Dittbenner, spokesman for the San Diego Community College District. He noted that today’s community college students now have the option of dropping out, attending a for pay, private college or taking additional coursework that may or may not transfer.
“Every dollar spent on education yields $4 in return to the state economy,” said Dittbenner.
During a 2011 survey, 40% of colleges nationwide reported that their students graduated within four years leaving the other 60% to graduate at a later date, according to the U.S News and World Report.
“I have personally, in 31 years of higher education, never seen it this bad,” said Kathleen Burke-Kelly, president of Los Angeles Pierce College, as she discussed a further 7% cut to her college.
Powered by Facebook Comments