LONG BEACH - If you're a Californian interested in taking up graduate studies in January at a California State University campus, think again.

But if you live in another state or country, check it out and sign your check.

Cal State leaders have told the university's 23 campuses they won't be allowed to admit California graduate students for the spring term, which starts in January. Budget cuts made the system in the spring unable to afford residents' heavily discounted education, campus leaders were told.

But nonresident students - who pay considerably higher fees - remain welcome, at least at some campuses. That has become an issue leading some rebellious graduate schools to turn away the non-Californians - and the financial windfall they would bring.

We either take both kinds of students or none, one professor said.

"It's appalling, and I would never, ever go along with" excluding resident students, said Maria Nieto, a Cal State East Bay biology professor who coordinates her department's graduate studies. "To say, `You can accept these students at the exclusion of California students,' goes against the mission of CSU."

In an effort to offset massive cuts in state funding, the CSU also has closed spring admission to undergraduate students on most campuses.

Undergraduates are far more plentiful than graduate students at Cal State, comprising 86 percent of some 430,000 students.

Some campuses, however, have made exceptions for undergraduates and resident students in special categories.

Cal State Long Beach, which typically enrolls about 1,500 students each spring, has chosen to admit a handful of resident undergraduate and graduate students for the spring 2013 semester.

David Dowell, vice provost for planning and budgets, said CSULB plans to admit about 90 students who are either veterans or are enrolled in special nursing and education programs.

In addition to the 90 resident students, the campus plans to enroll about 50 nonresident students, he said, adding that the nonresident students are mostly international.

Dowell said the university works to closely monitor its international student population.

"We are very careful to manage our international admission in such a way that it never creates a disadvantage for California students," he said.

Each year, Cal State generally enrolls between 16,000 and 18,000 students from other states or countries. Spring-term, nonresident graduate students are really rare: some 300 statewide, a university spokesman estimated.

Out-of-state and international students bring diversity to college campuses, proponents say, and the extra money they pay helps schools offset years of budget cuts. Most graduate students from California will pay $7,356 in Cal State tuition in 2012-13; nonresidents will pay an additional $372 per semester unit, which amounts to $8,928 for 24 units per year on top of tuition.

San Jose State officials said their reason for accepting nonresidents is clear - they need the money.

"It's right at the head of campus priorities to pick up additional revenues," said Bill Nance, the campus's vice president for student affairs. "We agree, it's not fair to Californians."

kelly.puente@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2181, twitter.com/kellypuentept

Twitter.com/MattKrupnick.