Daily 49er

Long Beach State aims to enroll local students

Long Beach serves as role model to other college campuses to serve their community.

A+high+school+tours+the+Earl+Burns+Miller+Japanese+Garden.+Local+campuses+see+greater+acceptance+rates+into+Cal+State+Long+Beach+due+to+Long+Beach%E2%80%99s+promise+act+2%2F10.
A high school tours the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. Local campuses see greater acceptance rates into Cal State Long Beach due to Long Beach’s promise act 2/10.

A high school tours the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. Local campuses see greater acceptance rates into Cal State Long Beach due to Long Beach’s promise act 2/10.

Hunter Lee | Daily 49er

Hunter Lee | Daily 49er

A high school tours the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. Local campuses see greater acceptance rates into Cal State Long Beach due to Long Beach’s promise act 2/10.

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Since the university has continuously broken its application record each year, a growing concern among prospective students is whether acceptance will become increasingly difficult.

In 2016, Long Beach sent out a record 36,000 rejection letters, prompting President Jane Close Conoley to address the same issue of whether or not Long Beach was headed toward elite status, meaning it only accepts “the best and brightest” among students as opposed to accepting students based on geographic closeness.

While acceptance into Long Beach has become increasingly difficult, Dhushy Sathianathan, vice provost of academic planning, said the school has maintained a mission of serving the local community.

Sathianathan said he believes that the university’s goal of providing guaranteed acceptance for local students should serve as a role model to other California universities.

“You can’t not serve your immediate region and just be an elite school,” Sathianathan said. “If you just want to be an elite school and not serve the community what function does it really have?”

For the upcoming fall semester, 4,600 freshmen and 4,400 transfer students will be enrolled, an almost 11 percent increase from last fall. This is the highest the school has ever seen, according to Sathianathan.

This increase is a result of last year’s high graduation rate, with over 10,000 students graduating. With this increased amount of spots freed up, 9,000 applicants were able to enroll.

Long Beach Unified School District students who meet Cal State Long Beach’s minimum requirements are guaranteed admission. This initiative is allowed through the Long Beach College Promise Partnership Act, a 2008 program aimed at college preparedness in K-12.

Lakewood High School, which is covered under the program, has seen great results with the Local Promise and making sure students are prepared, according to college and career specialist Jenny Gildon.

“Our close ties with CSULB allow me to call or meet with our partners at outreach, freshman admissions, financial aid, dual enrollment and advising anytime we need assistance or clarification at a moment’s notice,” Gildon said.

With Long Beach’s “Local Preference” admission, 42 local high schools are offered priority admission to students who have graduated from a school that resides in the geographic boundaries of the city and have met the minimum requirements.

Of the 103,000 applicants, around 6,000 seats are designated to students that reside in schools under the “local” recognition. The remaining 2,400 seats go toward 96,000 students who are not considered local, creating an intense field of competition.

“If you are outside the immediate local, you are in a highly competitive pool,” Sathianathan said. “There’s no guaranteed admission and we can only admit so many students.”

Those who live in California but do not live within the service area have faced the pressure of competing with the 96,000 other applicants, including Jazmine Dorado, an incoming transfer student from Long Beach City College.

“In the process of applying for transfer, my counselor broke the news that I was considered not local to CSULB. Therefore, I had a lower chance and higher requirements of getting in,” Dorado said. “She even told me a story about one of her old students that had a 4.0 GPA and still got denied to CSULB.”

Some community colleges have faced an increase in difficulty for non-local students attempting to transfer to Long Beach and other Cal State Universities, according to Flor Huerta, Fullerton College counseling and department coordinator.

“[CSULB] set themselves apart. [CSUs] are always changing their requirements and it’s tough to communicate that to students when the changes come late,” Huerta said. “We try and work with these CSUs to stay connected with them and get updated information, but it’s becoming challenging with all these applicants and they’re becoming elite.”

Sathianathan believes that other schools should be making more of an emphasis to enroll students that are local to them, but due to lack of state funding many schools are driven to seek non-local applicants to make up the funds because of higher tuition fees.

“State[-funded] schools are struggling to see how to make up for financial drop,” Sathianathan said. “Thus continuing the vicious cycle of ignoring local students.”

While Long Beach can be looked at as a role model of serving its community, Sathianathan says there is room for much improvement.

“We need to figure out how to bring in more revenue for the campus to support what we do,” Sathianathan said. “What should this campus look like in 2030? I hope [the student body] will help contribute in this conversation.”

1 Comment

One Response to “Long Beach State aims to enroll local students”

  1. Chris on March 7th, 2018 6:17 pm

    I’m torn on the Long Beach Promise. I agree with Sathianathan’s point about needing to be focused on the community but at the same time, I have seen many fellow LB students that are totally unprepared for college level work. Not all of that is attributable to the LB Promise of course, but the act of rejecting more qualified students in lieu of lesser local ones is a bit frustrating when you consider the reputation of the school can be so much greater.

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