Responding to continued crowding at California State University, Northridge, admissions officials Thursday set a limit on freshman enrollment next year and said they expect to stop accepting freshman applications by the end of this year.
The school will accept the first 6,350 eligible undergraduate applicants who apply after Saturday, the first day applications will be accepted for the fall, 1987 semester, said university spokeswoman Judy Elias. CSUN expects to receive that many by Dec. 31, Elias said.
CSUN announced two weeks ago that fall enrollment this year had reached a record 29,785, an increase of nearly 1,000 from last year, which also saw a record number of students. Undergraduate admissions were halted Jan. 27 this year, the first cutoff date in the school's history.
This year's limit on entering freshmen is aimed at easing crowding that students, faculty and administrators say is reaching grave proportions.
'Eroding the Quality'
"We're concerned," said William Watkins, acting associate vice president for academic planning and resources. "The overcrowding is eroding the quality of education here."
No limit or cutoff date was set for applications from college students wishing to transfer to CSUN, but admissions director Lorraine Newlon said the school will probably decide on a transfer deadline in January or February of next year. No limit was set for receiving graduate-school applications.
In the university's five "impacted" programs--areas of study in which the school is allowed to raise admissions standards because enrollment must be limited--Elias said fall admissions will close Nov. 30, as was the case last year. But transfer students and graduate out-of-state residents seeking admission to those programs have until Feb. 28, she said. The programs are business administration, computer science, engineering, physical therapy and radio-television-film.
Because CSUN is accepting freshman applications on a first-come, first-served basis, Newlon said, high-school seniors should apply as soon as possible.
"There's no more room," Newlon said. "After this is in the paper, it may inspire people to apply even earlier."
Caryl Bigenho, a college guidance counselor at Grover Cleveland High School in Canoga Park, said she and other Los Angeles guidance counselors were warned by state university planners in September of systemwide overcrowding. Seniors at Grover Cleveland are being advised to complete their applications to any of the 19 CSU schools by the end of November, she said.
CSUN is awaiting approval from the trustees of the state university system for more class and office space in the form of portable buildings, Watkins said. The school also hopes that the state will approve the leasing of a former Home Savings of America building for use as classroom space. The building was moved several blocks to the CSUN campus two weeks ago.
Watkins said students' most common complaint about crowding is that it lessens the likelihood of entry into classes that students want or need to graduate.
'Take Longer to Graduate'
"It's still harder to get classes that you want, and it takes longer to graduate," said junior journalism student Felicia Miller, 21.
Newlon said the crowding is compounded when fewer students are able to graduate.
Students and faculty also have complained recently of crowded classrooms.
"When you jam a larger number of students in there, it just exacerbates what's already a serious problem," said Tyler Blake, professor of psychology. " . . . It's absolutely impossible to conduct a normal class if everyone is sweating."
"There are some classes where you have to sit on the floor," said Sean Porter, 24, a sophomore political-science major.
At the current enrollment level, Watkins estimated, the university needs about 15% more classroom space. The possible addition of a new science building, which depends heavily on passage next week of a ballot initiative for public school bond issues, Proposition 56, would take time and probably would ease the problem only slightly.
"It appears the only way we can," said Newlon, "is by quickly acquiring classroom space."