SDSU enrolls largest number of students since 2008

File+photo.

Kelly Smiley

File photo.

by Patrick Doyle, Staff Writer

San Diego State has reported the largest enrolled class in 12 years, consisting of 35,578 graduate and undergraduate students.

Transfer students saw the most drastic increase in enrollment numbers, jumping from 4,146 in 2019 to 4,482 this year. However, the number of international students enrolled decreased from 1,770 last year to 1,395 this year.

This net increase of 500 students from last year is the largest number of students the university has enrolled since 2008 when the United States experienced a similar economic downturn as it is experiencing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students argue that SDSU is enrolling more students as a way to bring in more tuition and fees during the tough economic climate.

However, associate vice president for enrollment management Stefan Hyman said the increased enrollment numbers during both of these rough economic periods are coincidental, having been planned out ahead of time due to the need for the university to be prepared.

“The majority of our enrollments were already set prior to the summer,” Hyman said. “We had been planning for growth by about 350 enrollments pre-COVID. So the increase in 500, we went a little bit over what he had been planning, but not that much. The way that I look at it we came in really really close to what we were targeting.”

Hyman also said that international student enrollment decreased because many students deferred their admission due to concerns about in-person instruction, or a lack thereof. Some students said the university should have enrolled more international students, like undeclared freshman Gianna Salazar.

“I think the fact that so many people want to pursue an education in California from all around the country and world shows how inviting we are of all ethnicities and backgrounds with our large variety of majors,” said Salazar.

A larger enrolled class this year brings up questions about how the university plans to proceed with enrollments in the future, as students and staff wonder if class sizes will increase or decrease as annual budgets for California schools take a hit.

“We know that the CSU system lost about 299 million dollars based on the cuts that were announced a couple of months ago,” Hyman said. “So we’ll have to see how COVID winds up going.”

As a result of the cuts to the CSU base budget, SDSU is facing a $67 million shortfall in addition to $42 million in revenue losses and expenses associated with the pandemic.

Despite budget concerns, some students are excited to be a part of a larger student body, like bioengineering freshman Omar Salah.

“I feel like a larger class is a good thing because now more people get an opportunity to learn,” Salah said.

The university wants to reassure students that despite these increased enrollment numbers, quality of education is still the number one priority.

“We want to make sure that we’re still giving all students access to the courses that they need to be able to graduate in a timely way,” Hyman said. “It’s not a compromise that we want to make in terms of just trying to grow just heads without having a plan to educate students.”

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