Some high school seniors counting on San Diego State University next year have just days to figure out what to do after the school recently changed its admissions policy.
SDSU President's Stephen Weber recently announced the university’s decision to eliminate guaranteed admission for students living south of state Route 56 who meet minimum requirements and apply on time.
The state’s budget crisis is forcing SDSU to cut costs. By cutting the perk for locals, SDSU hopes to cut enrollment by 10 percent.
Several high school students and educators, criticized the move at a special hearing of the San Diego Unified School Board Monday night.
“It infuriates me to the point I can’t focus,” city college student Paul Porter told board members during public comment. “I feel offended, like it’s a slap in the face.”
Porter said he had been planning to go to SDSU since he was 12. “ I’ve grown up knowing that if I do this regimen I’m guaranteed admission to the SDSU,” he said.” “What am I supposed to do now? Just come up with another way? Get the money somehow?”
Lincoln High School student, Kayla Andrews, called the policy catastrophic.
“They put it in front of our faces and say work as hard as you can and get it and it will happen,” Andrews said. “It’s like having a dream and your goal snatched right out from under you.”
Even a state lawmaker vowed to take action if SDSU doesn’t delay the policy change.
Assem. Marty Block who represents the 78th District called the policy "misguided." If SDSU doesn't delay the policy for a year to allowe students to prepare, Block said he and other lawmakers will propose legislation to require community input before decisions like this that impact a large number of students.
During Monday night meeting, school board members heard from educator after educator that the message from SDSU is at best uninspiring.
“Two weeks before the admissions period for SDSU to begin is far too late to make this kind of drastic change to admissions policy,” said educator and community activist Pat Washington, Ph.D.
Washington along with other educators like Nikki Eddy, who teaches at Castle Park High School, encouraged the board to continue fighting the policy change.
“If you could see the faces of my kids working so hard every day. Most of them compete at a level I could never imagine doing in a second language,” said Eddy. “They deserve an opportunity for people to stand up on the right side of education for them.”
At the last meeting held on this issue, the board approved a resolution condemning SDSU's admissions policy change.
President Weber has said that the university is considering input from the community but he insists local students will still be given priority during admissions.
In a recent interview with KPBS, Weber said points would be given to applicants from the school's service area.
“Historically, about 40% of our freshmen have come from that service area of south of 56 and Imperial County. So we will give enough extra points to local students to preserve that historic ratio which has held for the last eleven years,” Weber said.