Enrollment Cap at Campuses of California State University Likely to Disproportionately Affect College-Bound Blacks

Because of budget restraints the California State University system, for the first time in its history, is poised to turn away qualified students who seek admission to its 23 campuses. While there is increased demand, the university is planning to reduce enrollments by 10,000 students for the 2009-10 academic year.

Fewer transfer and foreign students will be admitted. And students who drop out will not be replaced. The university system projects that up to 5,000 fewer freshmen will be offered places in the California State system.

These cutbacks in enrollments must be viewed against California law holding that race may not be considered in admissions decisions at public universities in California. Therefore, the students who will be denied places will be those with the lowest standardized test scores and grade point averages. And black students tend to be a disproportionate percentage of this low-scoring group.

There are about 22,000 black undergraduates on CalState campuses. They make up more than 6 percent of the total enrollments. Many hundreds of college-bound black students, who otherwise would have been admitted, may be denied places due to the new enrollment cap.