Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed a law that requires state universities to consult local groups, hold public hearings and provide more public notice about proposed admissions changes.

Under the new law, admissions changes must be approved by the chancellor of the California State University system one year before they go into effect, six months if the change is due to budgetary problems. The new rules come after San Diego State University was sharply criticized for changing its rules with little warning, upsetting local students who were no longer guaranteed admission. The school argued that it had little choice and risked over-enrolling if it hadn’t changed its rules.

Assemblyman Marty Block, D-Chula Vista, who introduced the bill, said in a press release that the new legislation will increase transparency and “ensure students are no longer blindly disenfranchised by their local public university.”

As I earlier reported, the California State University system had already created rules to prevent such abrupt changes, but SDSU used a loophole for emergency situations:

After a similar San Diego State controversy more than seven years ago, the California State University system created rules that require colleges to air such changes more than a year before they go into effect. The idea was to give ample warning to students who would be impacted. … But there was a catch. Universities could push through changes faster if they were in dire straits because of unexpected enrollment pressures. And that is exactly what SDSU did.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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