We are beginning the spring semester with just over 35,000 students, which is the largest spring enrollment in the university’s history. We admitted about 1,200 new transfer students, and 220 new graduate students. The full-time equivalent student enrollment (FTE) is estimated to be 29,100, which will be a historic high for spring.
Providing access to needed classes remains a high priority. Our team of dedicated staff, department chairs, and associate deans are hard at work ensuring we minimize wait lists and provide access to needed courses.
We are currently processing the Fall 2016 applications for freshmen and transfers. Graduate application deadlines are still open.
First-time freshman applications topped at 60,498, exceeding last year by 6.3%. This is another historic high and the highest among CSUs. The transfer applications totaled 29,001, which is 9.3% higher than last year. CSULB remains by far the most popular transfer student destination in California.
The Chancellor’s office has established a new resident target of 28,692 FTEs for 2016-17, which is 0.9% above last year. With this revised target we project a total headcount of 37,639 for Fall 2016 and 35,306 for Spring 2017. The calendar year FTEs is estimated to be 30,470, which is just under our master plan limit of 31,000.
The campus is expected to remain at full capacity for the coming years. Class schedules Monday through Thursday between 9 am and 2:30 pm are extremely popular, and the campus will be at capacity during these times. Departments and colleges have worked to make better use of large lecture halls during those prime hours by allocating more lectures to a MWF schedule. The number of large lectures on a MWF schedule has increased from 14 sections in Fall 2015 to 37 sections in Fall 2016. These adjustments will provide more access to needed classrooms during the prime time. The department schedulers are in the process of finalizing Fall 16 schedules for all other classes and every effort is being made to optimize classroom usage and reduce congestion during the prime time. The significant effort undertaken by the department and college leadership are truly remarkable. We are very grateful for their support.
We will continue to build upon the improvements in our six-year graduation rates, transfer graduation rates, while reducing the achievement gap. Our six-year graduation rate is at a historic high of 66.7%, which is a 3% improvement over the previous year. The first-time freshmen achievement gap for underrepresented students is reduced to 7.7% from 12%, and the Pell student graduation gap is reduced to 3.9% from 6.9%. The transfer graduation rate is at a historic high of 80.6% with no gap for both Pell eligible students and underrepresented students. By any standard this is a remarkable accomplishment by The Beach.
The recent Governor’s Budget Proposal identifies improving four-year graduation rates as a high priority for CSUs. Even though CSULB has made significant gains in six-year rates, the four-year rates have remained flat at around 15%. Improving degree completion time with particular emphasis on improving four-year graduation rates will be an area of renewed focus for the campus.
As part of this effort, the Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs are collaborating to revisit our first year experience offerings as part of a national project for which we were selected, “Reimagining the First Year of College,” sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
We can be proud we are graduating more students in less time than at any point in the past. We remain more determined and more confident than ever before to make The Beach experience a life experience for all students.