The end is nigh for San Jose State's guaranteed admission for South Bay applicants.
Packed with students it can't afford, the university is preparing to end its promise to admit all qualified high-school graduates from Santa Clara County.
Instead, the school would give preference -- but not a guarantee -- to those students.
"The local-area guarantee is just not viable for the long term," said William Nance, the university's vice president for student affairs. "Where we are right now implements a commitment that is, frankly, a risk."
The university came close to ending the guarantee in the closing days of this year's admissions cycle, but university leaders decided against the idea in the eleventh hour. But with the California State University system facing hundreds of millions of dollars more in budget cuts this year, SJSU likely will no longer be an automatic admission for South Bay students.
The culprit is "impaction," the word used by Cal State officials to describe overcrowding. SJSU is one of five Cal State campuses -- the others are Long Beach, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego and Fullerton -- that have declared themselves impacted across all majors.
A 2010 law requires campuses to hold public hearings when they decide they are overcrowded. San Jose will hold three hearings in the South Bay this week.
It has become far more difficult for campuses to remain faithful to their local applicants, said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the 23-campus Cal State system.
"I think the campuses are trying to keep that (guarantee), but it's a reflection of the budget," he said.
The statewide university system weathered $750 million in cuts last year and could see an additional $200 million in "trigger" cuts if voters turn down tax proposals this year.
SJSU has limited admissions to individual majors in recent years, and the university is proposing that it do the same for undeclared applicants starting next year. And while South Bay applicants have long been guaranteed admission by meeting minimum Cal State requirements, the university likely will raise standards for those students.
"It's hard to know how it's going to impact our applicants until we go through it once," said SJSU spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris. "But it's likely the vast majority (of local applicants) will be admitted."
Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at Twitter.com/MattKrupnick.
on San Jose State admissions proposals