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State universities turn away worthy students

KBAK/KBFX file photo

California public universities are turning away high school graduates worthy of being enrolled.

"CSUs are overcrowded because we have not been receiving adequate state funding," said Dr. Horace Mitchell, president of California State University, Bakersfield. "The last thing we want to do is tell students that have done all we want him or her to do that we don't have any space."

Last year, CSU schools turned away more than 30,000 students and University of California schools turned away more than 10,000.

Elysia Aguayo was one of them.

"I applied to Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton," said Aguayo. "I don't know why I didn't get in. My friend did the same. We had around the same GPA. She got in, and I didn't, so I was left wondering, 'What did I do, what did I do wrong?'"

Aguayo is now at CSUB, but many other students who are turned away don't always stay here, a major issue for the CSU and UC systems and the state.

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Education data, which is from 2014, more than 36,000 California freshmen enrolled at out-of-state schools.

Mitchell said it's important to keep college students in California because the state has a demand for them.

According to a Public Policy Institute of California study, at this rate, in 12 years California will have a million fewer college graduates than it needs, affecting the economy.

PPIC data also shows in 1976–77, higher education spending made up 18 percent of the state budget, but by 2016–17 it had fallen to 12 percent of the budget.

CSU trustees are searching for ways to accept more students and keep them in California. Last week, CSU trustees approved policy changes to redirect eligible applicants to campuses with space, instead of rejecting them completely. It will go into affect fall 2019.

Mitchell said CSUB is slightly over enrollment budget, but they will continue to accept all eligible local students.

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