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Students shut out at CSUs due to overcrowding receive a second chance at CSUB

They say, "It ain't over till it's over," and it looks like it's not the end of the line for thousands of students who applied to a Cal State University but were not admitted due to overcrowding.

Through a redirection policy, several CSUs, including Cal State Bakersfield, are offering admissions to thousands of eligible students who were shut out from impacted CSUs because they could not accommodate additional students. Impacted universities include Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, San Diego State and San Jose State.

According to EdSource, about 28,000 students were turned away, and 5,000 have taken advantage of redirection.

At CSUB, 532 students have been redirected and 132 have expressed interest in attending, according to numbers provided by Ben Perlado, director of admissions and records. Twenty-three students have enrolled so far.

The university received 568 redirection applications last year and 15 students enrolled.

"I'm pleased," Perlado said of the increase in enrolled students. "It's a little more than last year, so we’re growing a little bit."

Low enrollment numbers could be due to students having other plans that do not allow them to attend the university. The number could grow in the coming weeks, however, as students submit transcripts and attend orientations.

For first-time freshmen, upper-division transfer students or associate-degree-for-transfer students applying to the CSU who have not been admitted to any CSU they applied to but meet eligibility requirements, they will be redirected to an alternate CSU campus where space is available, according to the CSU website.

Eligible applicants who have not been admitted are contacted and select a first- and a second-choice campus based on the locations where space is available, the CSU website states. Their application is then redirected to their first-choice campus unless​ that campus has run out of capacity.

Perlado said the policy has been used for at least five years, and CSUB has been a redirection campus since the start.

"It provides the student the opportunity to attend a CSU," he said. "It may not be the one they intended to go to, but they still have the opportunity to attend a university and continue their education. We're pleased about that."

Other CSUs to which students can be redirected include Cal State Channel Islands, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State East Bay, Humboldt State, San Francisco State, Sonoma State and Cal State Stanislaus as well as several majors at the Maritime Academy in Vallejo, according to EdSource.

Most students who attend CSUB through redirection come from Southern California.

"We tell students in our communications that we’re not far from the beach," Perlado said, with a laugh.

In the past, redirection was offered only to transfer students from community colleges who completed the associate-degree-for-transfer program. This year, it has been widened to include all freshmen and transfer applicants.

Officials at CSUB see the expansion as a benefit for both students and the school, especially since the university is hoping to reach record enrollment numbers in the coming years.

"It’s part of our mission to grow in enrollment, and we hit 11,000 students this past year and (CSUB President Lynnette) Zelezny would like to reach 18,000," said Jennifer Self, director of public affairs and communications. "We’re hoping they can come and stay in our student housing, so we’re also reaching out to them to let them know about our competitive student housing and why living on campus is a benefit to students."

Perlado also believes the policy will help bring students from all parts of the state to CSUB in future years and that they might be able to make Bakersfield home.

"We’re a smaller campus and some students want to go to smaller campus," he said. "The cost of living is less around here and they have things to think about that may benefit them and help them realize they made the right choice to come here."

Total enrollment at CSUB is right under 10,000 students, Perlado said Wednesday, but the number is expected to grow before the first day of school on Aug. 26. 

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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