There is no need to change the high impaction status of the university, said Darren Bush,
Cal State Fullerton’s interim associate vice president for Student Affairs — Student Transitions.
Out of 23 California State University campuses, CSUF is one of six that is experiencing academic impaction in every major, according to the CSU website.
Impaction occurs when the demand of applicants exceeds the available physical space the university has for them.
Bush said that every year, each CSU receives an enrollment directive from the Chancellor’s office containing the target of how many applicants the university is allowed to admit. The target is based on the school’s budget, which comes from state funding.
The school cannot provide for more students than the target allows because the budget would not be enough to cover the costs of additional courses, sections or seats.
Bush said that CSUF received a 12 percent increase in its number of applicants last year, but the chancellor’s enrollment directive is not rising with it.
Bush said if the state were to increase the sum of funding for academic costs, like additional classes, the student enrollment number would be able to rise. However, Bush said admitting more applicants could affect how easily students are able to enroll in mandatory classes.
While it might seem strange for only a small number of the universities to experience impaction, it could be due to factors like a university not wanting to expand its student body or because of the area the campus is located in, Bush said.
For example, Cal State Channel Islands only has one impacted major, pre nursing, which might be because of its location in Ventura County, which has 849,000 residents compared to Orange County’s 3 million.
The issue of impaction affects applicants more than current students at the university.
“The biggest downside to being impacted is to not be able to accomodate so many students every year who apply to us,” Bush said. “Many more students are interested in our campus but we are not growing in enrollment.”
Out of the thousands of first-time freshmen students who apply to CSUF each year, about 45 percent of them are admitted, Bush said. The university allows this number with the expectations of many applicants turning down their acceptance.
While the use of trends and data from previous years help CSUF decide how many students it should accept, there is a possibility that if more applicants than expected decide to attend the school, it would interfere with the classes.
Bush said it is unlikely that class availability will be affected, but CSUF’s institutional research and analytical studies website shows the number of students finishing in five or six years is rising at a higher rate than the four-year graduates.
The administration is looking to accumulate more funding in hopes of accommodating more students, but they are not looking to stop the impaction.
“We know the demand we have for our campus is so great and the space is so limited, so impaction will be a part of us until that gap narrows,” Bush said.