California’s Colleges Face a Growing Crisis
The Golden State has a lot going for it: miles of breathtaking coastline, sunshine for months on end, and a state college system that’s the envy of many. But overcrowding has become a full-blown crises, and California is turning away residents in record numbers.
How bad is the problem? Last year, more than 30,000 eligible students were turned away by the CSU system. That’s 20,000 more rejections than 2017, and a sign of a troubling trend.
The issue is limited space: California’s population is growing, and a higher number of high school graduates are meeting college eligibility requirements, writes Vanessa Rancano for KPBS. There’s simply no place to put them, and the Public Policy Institute of California says declining state investment is compounding the problem.
And it’s bad for the overall state economy. Sending bright students out of state for college increases the likelihood that they’ll remain there. Nearby schools like Arizona State have seen a whopping increase of 200 percent in California student enrollment since 2002.
Lande Ajose, executive director of California Competes, an organization that advocates for access to higher education, puts it simply: “Those are bright and talented students,” she said. “Those are students whose families are here in the state. Those are students who then may or may not return home.”