Incoming freshmen have highest ever GPA

In Campus News, News

The fall 2011 freshman class is said to have the highest rated average high school GPA in the history of Cal State Fullerton.

As a result of an increase in the number of students applying for enrollment to CSUF and program and campus impaction in the CSU, this year’s entering freshman class of just under 4,200 students has an average high school GPA of 3.37. This is a notable increase from a 3.27 GPA for the fall 2010 class, said Edward Sullivan, assistant vice president of the CSUF Department of Institutional Research and Analytical Studies.

The 4,200 freshmen accepted this year is an increase from the fall 2010 first-time freshman class, which was 3,912 students, he said.

Sullivan said it is not surprising that the average GPA for the fall 2011 freshman class is the highest that it has ever been. There has been an increasing number of students applying to the university and since 2004 there has been a scarcity in the number of applicants that can be admitted in any given freshman class, Sullivan said. This means the university must pick the most qualified students.

“This year we were shooting for a freshman class of about 3,900 students; that would have been in line with last year’s freshman class,” Sullivan said. “We received more applications and we ended up with an entering class of just under 4,200 students.”

According to the CSU website, a major or campus is impacted when the number of qualified student applicants outnumbers the amount of available spaces in that major or at that specific campus. 

“When you apply that standard of both campus level and program-level impaction, the students need to be a little bit more competitive to be admitted to the university,” Sullivan said.

With only so many seats available and the university aiming at bringing in 3,900 freshmen, the downside of impaction is that there are students who are fully qualified under the CSU eligibility who will not be admitted into the school, he said.

“At this point it’s kind of like the perfect storm — you have a lot of applicants for a fewer number of spaces, so of course the GPA is going to go up,” said Nancy Dority, assistant vice president of Enrollment Services at CSUF.

Dority said this higher standard for acceptance into the university is not a positive thing.

In the past the CSU has been and has prided itself on being a place of access, but that has changed in recent years and Dority has seen the school become less accessible.

“Unfortunately I don’t see it necessarily positive because it is precluding access from at least a certain number of students,” Dority said.

According to Sullivan, this year CSUF had over 35,000 applicants for freshman slots, 16,500 students were admitted and just under 4,200 freshmen were enrolled.

Dority also said the situation restricts the campus’ ability to take in as many students from outside the Southern California area as it has in years past.

According to the CSU mentor website, CSUF is among 16 CSU campuses that have higher standards for students applying as first-time freshmen. This is because of the high number of qualified students who apply to these schools. Other local CSU campuses that fall into this category are Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Long Beach and Cal State San Bernardino.

David Inga, 22, a graduate student working on his master’s degree in history, is in his fifth year at CSUF. He started attending CSUF in the fall of 2007, gaining admission with a GPA of 3.5 as a freshman.

Inga is a primary organizer for CSUF with the activist group Students for Quality Education.

“Basically, I know that the increase in the GPA qualification for incoming freshmen is going to dramatically affect the accessibility of those that are coming from a lower socioeconomic neighborhood,” said Inga.

Inga sees this as a big problem, as well as what he called the increase in the privatization of the CSU in general.

Until the budget changes for the better, CSUs like CSUF will continue to see this trend, Dority said.

[Updated Sept. 28 at 12:26 p.m.]

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