Cal Poly State University has always been known for it’s outstanding Engineering and Architecture programs, or at least since 1901. But, what about the other colleges? Some of the lesser known colleges at Cal Poly are having difficulties letting people in, meaning while thousands are applying, only hundreds are being accepted.
In this past school year, over 20,000 students were rejected from Cal Poly simply because there was not enough room. This year, it seems, Cal Poly is having a similar problem. In the most well-known college, College of Engineering (COE), nearly 13,000 students applied with just over 1100 being admitted. A mere 9.3% acceptance rate. As far as some of the lesser known colleges, such as the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), over 9,000 students applied. With an acceptance rate of only 7.2%, 665 students were admitted. The same goes for College of Science and Mathematics (COSAM) with 630/~9,000 accepted.
However, the department heads prepared for such large numbers, what with Cal Poly being a nationally and internationally ranked university. Fred DePiero, Associate Dean at COE, said this about accepting students, “If we want to get one person in the door, we send out three acceptance letters. It’s sort of a game of chance that the predictions work well.” Although the acceptance rate is approximately 44%, it seems like the university will be at a lower rate in no time with their comprehensive application and quarterly demands. DePiero states this sad fact about the difficult selection process, “We have students coming out of our ears, but we need more money.”
Although the university needs more money, budget cuts are taking enough of a toll. “The only way we have been able to accommodate students is by saving money by not purchasing equipment or support faculty/staff development and student/faculty research to the extent we should,” says COSAM dean Philip Bailey. “We are having to make some serious curricular changes to cut costs as well as the other cost savings.” Not only does this include the above mentioned items such as teachers and equipment, but Cal Poly has recently cut specific majors that are in less demand which are unknown at the time.
Harvey Levenson, head of Graphic Communications Dept., said it best: “We would like to service the students so that they can graduate with a good education in four years.” This goal is not unlike many other state-funded colleges, but how do we accomplish this with a reported $20 million budget cut for the past school year (2011-2012)? “If you allow in more students than you can service, that puts us back in the time frame where they graduate in a longer period than four years, said Levenson. That statement brings us back to the original situation: lower acceptance rates. A school can only accept as many students as it can supply a good education for. Looks like Cal Poly has it all figured out.