January 2009 Archives
The donations for SF State from alumni and friends have doubled over the last three years, according to the 2007-08 CSU Annual Report on External Support.
The department of university advancement at SF State reported $17.5 million in gift commitments from about 6,000 different individual donors, a 48 percent increase from the 2005-06 fiscal year. The CSU raised $441 million in donations, a new record for the 23-campus system.
"Basically as the state's budget crisis deepens, it becomes clear that we need to do more on our own," said Lee Blitch, the vice president for university advancement at SF State. "So three years ago the university decided to beef up the alumni outreach program."
In response to California's budget cuts, SF State developed an active alumni relations effort. Donna Blakemore, associate vice president of university advancement, turned to RuffaloCODY, a strategic fundraising and enrollment management service, to operate the alumni outreach program.
RuffaloCODY uses phone banking and e-mail services to contact SF State alumni around the world.
"With phone banking we see about a 26 percent success rate," said Heather McMurrin, RuffaloCody program manager at SF State. "We send out about one e-mail per month."
The number of alumni donors has quadrupled over the past three years, jumping from 1,130 in 2005 to 4,487 in 2008, according to SF State university advancement analysis.
"Now we call everybody that we have contact information for, and we've been expanding our e-mail contacts," Blakemore said. "We started out in 2005 with less than 10,000 contacts; now we're at 60,000."
Alumni accounted for $3.6 million of the donations received, while foundations and corporations contributed another $5.2 million.
"We try to match the need of the university with the interest of the donor, but almost all of it comes in as a directed donation," Blitch said.
The money donated to CSU was given with specific directions. Of the total $441 million received by CSU, $135.5 million is to be allocated according to the donors' wishes. Contributors requested that $42 million be spent for academic programs, $24 million for public service programs, $19 million for student scholarships and $24 million to meet any other university needs, according to the report.
"It should be going straight to the classes necessary for students to graduate," said Trent Downes, a 22-year-old business major at SF State. "Of course they should respect the donors' wishes, but sometimes they're a little out of touch."
The affects of the budget cuts are felt all across campus as students of almost every discipline are turned away from the classes they need to graduate.
"I can't get any of the classes that I needed," said John Totten, a junior economics major.
Students are also at risk of losing financial aid without the minimum number of units needed for full-time students.
"My advisor told me to start looking for 'filler classes' so I wouldn't lose my financial support," Totten said.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget plans for 2009-10 include a 10 percent increase in student fees for all CSU students, creating about $130 million in revenue. With one-third of that being set aside for financial aid and $84.4 million for operating costs, the CSU will still be $15.8 million short.
"Clearly, there is something fundamentally wrong with the system," Downes said. "They've been increasing the fees ever since I got here."
On Jan. 24, Mayor Gavin Newsom joined in a very symbolic ribbon cutting ceremony where the eyes of a Golden Dragon were dotted, kicking-off the Chinese New Year celebrations and marking the beginning of the year of the Ox, Lunar year 4707.
Karen Eng, spokeswoman of the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade said, the ceremony was very representative of changes in the community.
The dragon's eyes were dotted by the newly elected SF Board of Supervisors; President David Chiu (the first Chinese-American to be elected to be president of the board of supervisors), Supervisor Eric Mar and Supervisor Carmen Chu.
Reverend Norman Fong, master of ceremonies, recalls the event as being very symbolic.
"We've come a long way and one of the supervisors, David Chiu, is President of the SF's Board of Supervisors. It's history," Fong said.
Following this symbolic event, the New Year's Flower Market Fair was in full effect. People gathered to buy flowers, plants and food for the New Year. Plants in the house represent rebirth and growth. While foods like tangerines and oranges are symbols of abundant happiness.
The Chinese New Year began on Jan. 26. Eng says that traditions before the New Year include a hair cut and a clean house. It is encouraged to pay debts and wear red on New Years day for good luck.
The celebration lasts for two weeks bringing with it plenty of festivities still to come.
A daily carnival began on Jan. 23 at the Walter U. Lum Place, located at Washington and Clay Streets. The carnival will cater to children and to the young at heart all the way through Feb. 8.
On Jan. 31, teams from San Francisco middle schools and from Asian-American communities will participate in a Chinese New Year Basketball Jamboree. There will be six games throughout the day.
The Miss Chinatown U.S.A. pageant has events scheduled as well. The pageant is being held on Jan. 31. The event is sold out, but spectators can still see Miss Chinatown and her court get crowned at the coronation ball, which takes place on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. This event is $120 and includes dinner and dancing until midnight. It is a black tie event.
Still, there is one other great event to catch a peek at the newly crowned Miss Chinatown and that is at the parade. The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year's Parade has been rated on of the top 10 parades in the country, one of the few illuminated night parades and the largest one outside Asia.
There will be groups of children dressed in traditional Chinese costumes, stilt walkers, colorful floats, thousands of firecrackers exploding and a brand new Golden Dragon, now 238 feet long.
"This year, the Golden Dragon will be at the beginning of the parade," said Eng. The dragon used to be 201 feet long.
Fong is excited about the parade, but is mostly excited about what it brings to the community.
"Of course I volunteer to emcee the street fairs & the parade so I enjoy both," said Fong. "But the smiles on the faces of the kids & seniors of Chinatown are priceless."
Bleacher seats for the parade can be purchased at the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Parade Web site.
- Chinese Culture Center Spring Festival
- Chinese New Year Community Street Fair
- Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinatown Run
President Obama tackled the long-controversial issue of abortion rights during his first week in office, giving the executive order to overturn the ban of the U.S. funding abortion services overseas.
Representatives of different communities have expressed both anger and approval over a topic that has been widely debated domestically and internationally.
"It's one of the worst things we can do," said Dolores Meehan, co-chairwoman of Walk for Life, an anti-abortion organization, referring to the executive order. "Rather than helping women who are in poverty who want to care for their children, we do not give them the option to have a child, feed and educate him, but only the option to stop him from being born."
Known as the global gag rule, the policy prevents all non-governmental organizations, which receive federal funding, to promote abortion services in other countries.
The policy has been favorable with Republicans but not so much with Democrats since the policy began in 1984 during the Reagan administration.
"I think that a lot of countries besides us are economically in crisis and not being able to have abortions can make it very hard on a family with multiple children," said Emma*, 20, who had an abortion eight months after her first child was born in 2005.
The decision has been met with mixed feelings among SF State students and faculty.
"I think it's a good start for the administration," said junior Dena Rod. "But I'd rather see [Obama] working on LGBT issues and repealing the Defense Marriage Act."
Jaimes Guerrero, women's studies professor, said that it's "a good thing" Obama overturned the ban because "the U.S. should not have such strings attached to this aid."
"We shouldn't be dictating to other countries from a Republican fundamentalist stance on abortions and any other women's reproductive rights issues," Guerrero said in an email.
Carlos Narvaez, 19, says that having the choice for an abortion is good in case the victim of a sexual assault resulting in accidental pregnancy wants to have the option of receiving medical treatment.
"I don't think anyone should tell you what to do," Narvaez said. "No one should hold the power of what you should do."
Frank Lee, coordinator for the Asian Americans Against Abortion, was surprised that Obama had focused his attention on this policy rather than something more important, during his first few days in office.
"The top priority of our president and the administration is to try to work together to help us win the battle of economics," Lee said. "Right now is a time to be united... not the time to be divided."
This sentiment is echoed by other students on campus.
"I'm all for it, but with the economic situation we are in right now, it is not the best idea," said 18-year-old Tom Maendle. "It's a good cause, but can we really afford it? I think before we help other countries, we should take care of things here."
* Name has been changed.
Some long-time SF State lecturers have not returned for the spring 2009 semester due to the serious financial issues SF State and many other California schools have been facing.
There is no way of knowing the amount of lecturers that have not been reappointed this semester until March 1 because transactions are still being processed, according to Henry McCoy, director of academic personnel and human resources information systems, and Michael Martin, executive director of risk management.
SF State has the largest number of lecturers not reappointed in the entire CSU system, according to Sheila Tully, vice president of the SF State California Faculty Association (CFA) chapter lecturer.
SF State President Robert A. Corrigan announced in August that 141 sections had been cut for the fall 2008 semester.
The budget crisis deepened as an additional 150 sections were cut for spring 2009, according to Tully.
Ian Stuart, 25, a graduate student in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program, found out last semester that Vietnamese language instructor Mr. Tran, who wished for his first name to be omitted, would not be returning to teach in the spring semester and was driven to action.
"Tran is an instructor of unmatchable character and quality," wrote Stuart in a letter to the College of Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies department. "I have never encountered a teacher who so tirelessly and sincerely cares for his craft and his students... it would be a shame to lose his presence at SFSU."
"I was upset by the injustice of it," Stuart said. "This lack of job security a lecturer of 11 years faces and the willingness of those in the decision-making tenured positions of the department to [cut] someone who's been at the school so long rather than come up with some other solution that more evenly distributes the burden of the budget cuts is, to me, disgusting and sad... but I know that Ethnic studies or AAS are not entirely at fault and maybe there are people there who did the best they could to prevent this from happening"
"It shouldn't be [the students'] fight," Tran said. "If more lecturers are let go, education will go down and [the university] will be betraying their educational goals."
At the Dec. 9 Academic Senate's town hall meeting, SF State Vice President Leroy Morishita and Chief Fincial Officer Provost John Gemello said that the university would not lay off permanent employees or junior faculty.
Instead, faculty members not tenured or tenure-track were at risk in losing their jobs.
"There are lecturer, faculty and staff positions that are designated as temporary," wrote Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies Kenneth P. Monteiro in an email. "They signed up for positions to work if and when work is available, meaning if we have the money and the need. But when budget cuts come, we may still have a need for them, but we may not have the money -- no matter how we feel about it."
The Asian American Studies department cut 12 classes according to Lorraine Dong, AAS department chair.
In addition to Tran, three lecturers from her department were not offered a teaching assignment this semester because of the budget cuts, stated Dong
"Significantly, many of us who were lucky enough to be reappointed, are teaching fewer courses... we are even more underemployed than usual," Tully wrote. "Some lecturers who were offered only one course have lost health benefits... The situation for lecturers, many of whom are long-term 'part-time temporary' lecturers have been teaching at SFSU for more than 5 years, is dire."
Currently, lecturers are approximately 23,500 -- more than 50 percent -- of CSU faculty, according to the California Faculty Association.
"Lecturers do comprise of significant roles and there are concerns amongst the intellectuals in the department," said Samuel Harvell, an Ethnic Studies lecturer. "There is a sense of uncertainty. I do have fears because my job... is a major source of income. It's only natural I fear for [it]. I would like some sense that my job is secure."
But unless money arrives, there is no certainty.
"With less money, you have less to pay costs and employ fewer people," Monteiro wrote. "It all comes back to the original problem, the State of California isn't sending the full payment for the educational need. The money for these lecturers is not here on campus."
"The real plan must be to push the state and federal government for long-term financial solutions or we are just rearranging chairs on a budgetary Titanic," Monteiro said. "The most important strategy is working through the CSU Alliance, the alliance of students, faculty, staff and administrators, to encourage legislators to support higher education."
Campus police arrested a man yesterday suspected of selling marijuana near the Child Care Center, said Ellen Griffin, university spokeswoman.
The arrest happened without incident Wednesday at 12:39 p.m. The suspect was taken to county jail after the arrest. No further information about the suspect is available.
Earlier in the day, an unidentified suspect was detained by a SF State bookstore employee for petty theft, Griffin said. The incident happened at 11:30 a.m.
The suspect was cited with a misdemeanor by police and released from custody soon after. No further information about the incident is available as the bookstore spokesman was unavailable for a comment.
According to the campus police crime log, this is the second incident of petty theft in the bookstore this week and the fourth on campus so far this semester.
SF State's Division of Information Technology has sent out a warning to students and faculty about a new virus called Conficker that has already affected millions of computers.
On the IT Web site, it suggests to "run a trusted anti-virus program with the latest updates, scan all file extensions and external drives (especially MP3 and USB drives) when configuring your anti-virus software" and to install the patch provided in the e-mail.
[X]press has e-mailed Mig Hofmann, information security officer, to verify the e-mail was sent by IT in case students and faculty were suspicious of the e-mail.
The past several semesters, SF State e-mails have been plagued with phishing scams where e-mails identified from IT ask for personal information such as student ID numbers and passwords. (Read "Phishing scam targets campus").
To get more information on the Conficker virus and phishing scams, visit the IT Web site.
High school seniors and parents at George Washington received much needed help Wednesday night filling out financial aid forms as seniors are preparing for college.
Cash for College, a division of the California Student Aid Commission, representatives from Sen. Leland Yee's San Francisco office and employee's of the school organized the event, which had more that 140 people in attendance.
That's up from near 40 last year, according to Yee's District Representative, Susan Chan. They even ran out of packaged handouts.
"They did an awesome job with recruiting and outreach," said Chan. "I think it's wonderful."
Chan said that Yee, an alumnus of SF State, put's a "great emphasis and focus on children, education and social services." She added that, "as a state Senator, his job is not only to uphold the state's laws and create new one's, but to communicate to the people and the resources of the state."
The night's meeting, which took a little more than an hour, focused on the types of financial aid available to students and the steps needed to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
After the presentation and questions from the audience, students and parents who wished received one-on-one help with the FAFSA form from the school's college center staff.
Connie Xie, a senior at George Washington, and a potential SF State student in the fall, expressed gratitude toward the night's organizers. "I learned more, because this is my second time," said Xie, referring to a similar presentation given to all seniors at the high school.
But while Xie's concerns about the process of financial aid have been answered, a new worry has cropped up for her. She's fearful of the ability to turn SF State's immense population into a manageable group she can make friends out of.
"I just hate this whole beginning process for college," she said.
A year-long effort to provide textbook rentals to SF State students is on hold until next fall due to planning issues.
"The idea was to set aside a certain number of copies of textbooks specifically for rental so students wouldn't have to come back at the end of the semester and get only half back for their books," said Rob Strong, the general manager of the SF State Bookstore.
"We had hoped to start it last fall and we weren't able to," Strong said.
"The thing is, after we started looking into it more seriously we really have to wait for the fall cycle. The reason is that new editions always come out in the spring and summer and for the rental program to be viable we have to get the faculty to use that book for two, preferably three years so we can rent it multiple times to students."
Not all of the store's more than 6000 titles are slated to be offered through the rental program. The rentals will be for the most in-demand classes, primarily lower division courses that are requirements for all students, Strong said.
The program will also not offer books bundled with other media due to the need to reuse the books. Book publishers bundle to encourage students to purchase new titles, Strong said.
While the rental program will charge students around $35 to $40, it is essentially as cost effective for students as the returns system, but too few students actually sell their books back, said Wendy Johnson, a manager at the store.
"I wish more students came to the buy-back," Johnson added.
"The rent program will be for only a handful of titles. Overall, if students are concerned about costs, buy back is the way to go."
This opinion is shared by other employees. "I think [the rent program] is great," said James Ferrell, an employee of the Bookstore and international relations major.
"Students are stressed out --grumpy-- no one wants to pay more money. People are struggling to get into classes, [dealing with] raised fees, then have to shell out $300 to $400 on books; it's the last straw. Not many students sell books back. I might sell 80 [books] and they bring back five," Ferrell said.
Some students have found help with textbook costs through the Project Connect book loan program. Project Connect received 400 applications and gave out 350 books last semester, said program coordinator Mario Flores. This semester they expect 500 applications and to accommodate 400 of those.
The project receives $2,000 annually from the Book Store, $800 from ASI and they raise $2,000 to $2,500 through fundraising.
Until such a program is available on a wider scale, students like freshman Steven Cai will keep paying.
"I'll try to sell back the ones that I can," said Cai, who expects to spend about $500 on books this semester.
CSU campuses instituted a hiring freeze this year on all but essential positions in response to California's staggering budget deficit.
In a statement issued by CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed on Jan 9, a $14.8 billion revenue shortfall in 2008-09 will grow to $41.6 billion by the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year if additional cost-cutting measures are not met.
Due to the urgent nature of the budget, SF State has looked to hiring as a basic cost-saving strategy.
"The direction was to take a more prudent look at the essential," said Lori Gentles, associate vice president of human resources at SF State. "That way you can absorb within an operation without bringing that operation down."
Positions lost on campus are decided on a departmental basis.
The extent and outcome of the hiring freeze is hard to predict and largely dependent on the state, according to Gentles.
Additional actions include a salary freeze for all CSU vice president level positions and above, travel restrictions for employees and the cancellation of all non-critical equipment and supply purchases.
The actions followed the CSU's November decision to limit the number of new students entering in fall 2009 because of its inability to fund enrollment growth and operational needs.
The budget shows mandatory costs, enrollment funding and financial aid costs required for 2009-10 fiscal year to total $84.4 million, $15.4 million more than available revenue.
The new budget is based on the assumption that the CSU board of trustees will increase student fee rates by 10 percent, which is projected to achieve $130 million in revenues; with one-third of the revenues set aside for student financial aid.
The crisis has also forced the CSU to shut down the $90 million construction site for the new library at SF State due to the states freezing of $600 million in general-obligation and lease revenue bonds used to finance these projects.
An estimated 130 similar projects have also been affected, according to Erik Fallis, a spokesperson for the CSU Chancellor's Office.
The budget proposal also reflected $14.3 billion in revenue adjustments, $17.4 billion in spending cuts and $10 billion in warrants and barrowing to balance the budget reserve.
Reed encouraged students, faulty, staff and alumni to work together during the hard economic times.
"Tell our elected officials as well as our local businesses, community and civic leaders, that the CSU is the economic powerhouse that provides the highly skilled professionals to the industries that make California successful," Reed said in his statement. "Higher education is a long-term investment that benefits everyone."
The CSU System has suspended construction of the J. Paul Leonard Library, as well as an upgrade to the campus' communication infrastructure, in response to the state's budget cuts.
"The state faces a staggering budget shortfall between now and the end of 2009-10 of almost $42 billion unless the governor and the legislature take rapid corrective action," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed in a memo to employees.
The state has temporarily frozen $600 million in bonds that are used to finance state-funded design and construction projects on all 23 CSU campuses.
"At this point, we do not have any information on when the work suspension will come to an end, but we are hoping it will be very soon." said Simon Lam, associate vice president of the university's planning department, in an email.
The library project, previously estimated to take a little over three years to complete, will cost an estimated $1.75 million a month and the university has already spent $11 million of the $116 million- project's budget.
The freeze does not save the CSU any money, Lam stated.
"The suspension of work will end up costing more money, since there will be additional costs associated with closing down and restarting the projects," Lam said
However, according to Reed, the state has no funds available to pay contractors.
According to the website of Barnhart, Inc, the contract's value as of January 9 was $96 million. Barnhart, Inc. is contracted to build the library.
Deborah Masters, a university librarian, is unconcerned with the project's suspension, stating that she and her staff are prepared to bring the same services to students for the coming years.
Because the same resources are still available and access to the book stacks will not be available to students after the project's completion, much remains the same.
"In some respects, it doesn't make any difference to the user," Masters said. "While the building itself is no longer open to students, all the services are still available and we want to help."
Rest assured, all of the books are still in the original library. After the western wing of the library is completed all the books will move into the library retrieval system on the first two floors and work will begin on the original building.
In the mean time, the 24-hour study rooms have been moved to Library Annex 1 on North State Drive. The annex allows for 145 more computers and 230 more seats for students to study in, Masters explains.
"Students can go to the annex and not likely encounter long lines for a computer," she said. "We were pleased and delighted by how the students began to use the annex."
The Technology Infrastructure System project was in its final stages. This portion of the project involved installing wiring, electricity outlets and a telecommunication conveyance system in the Gymnasium, Thornton Hall, the Science, Administration and Fine Arts buildings, followed by HSS and Creative Arts. The Gymnasium and Thornton Hall are finished, but work is only partially complete in Science, Administration and Fine Arts.
When complete, the newer system will allow data and phone calls transmit at higher speeds.
"The unfinished work on the TIS project will have no noticeable effect, since building occupants will continue to use the telecommunications infrastructure in place," Lam said.
The monthly cost for the communications project is estimated at $900,000 and with about $5.3 million of the $9,308,000 project budget spent, according to Lam.
"The work suspension is unfortunate and unprecedented. We are doing everything we can to minimize the disruption and hope that we can resume work as quickly as possible," said Lam.
Also in response to the budget, the CSU system has set limits to the number of students admitted in fall 2009, created travel restrictions for employees, implemented a salary freeze for all vice president- level positions and above, placed a hiring freeze on all jobs not important to operating of the university and cancelled all non-critical equipment and supply orders.
Gay and lesbian youth are now able to receive support and protection through a campus organization, which reconciles lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents with their families.
The SF State Family Acceptance Project (FAP), a research, education and intervention program for LGBT youths, received $500,000 towards funding this past October.
It is the biggest grant the program has received since starting the project in 2002.
"This grant was very important and took about 14 months to get," said Caitlin Ryan, adolescent health initiatives director at the Cesar E. Chavez Institute and co-founder of FAP.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded FAP the grant, leaving it with $100,000 left to raise out of the $600,000 it needs to fund the project for a year.
The project, which was co-founded by Rafael Diaz, a professor for the College of Ethnic Studies at SF State, studies the impact of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well-being of LGBT youths.
According to the group's research, young lesbian, gay and bisexual (not including transgendered) adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were more than eight times likely to report having attempted suicide.
They are almost six times more likely to have high levels of depression, compared to peers who received little family rejection.
"We're the first organization of our kind," Ryan said. "The parents are willing to change their behavior once they understand how their actions negatively affect their child."
FAP came about when Ryan and Diaz realized that there weren't any programs helping families adapt to their children's sexual identity.
The project studies parents' reactions to their children's sexual identity using interviews.
FAP then helps parents become more accepting of their gay children using the information gathered.
"They have no idea that by rejecting their children's [sexual orientation], they are rejecting them as a person," Ryan said.
"This sounds like a really great program," said Melodie Barr, 19, an English and Native American studies major and member of Queer Alliance. "[Adolescents'] minds are easily affected at that time in their lives."
Barr talked about a friend she knew throughout Catholic school who was a lesbian, but forced herself to marry a man, in fear of how her parents would feel about her true identity.
But the couple divorced soon after the wedding.
Today, the friend's family claims their daughter's sexual orientation as the reason for the divorce, according to Barr.
Ryan began her work as a clinical social worker after obtaining her bachelor's degree at Hunter College, her master's degree from Smith College School for Social Work and her doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University.
In the early 1980s, Ryan created and directed a community-based AIDS service in Atlanta called AID Atlanta.
Through AID Atlanta she recognized a need for more family acceptance and openness with parents and their gay sons.
Ryan saw how many gay men affected by the AIDS epidemic could not come out to their parents in fear of rejection.
"People died really quickly," Ryan said. "I had to support and comfort the parents when they realized that their child was dying of AIDS."
The work in Atlanta had a personal impact on Ryan, which is what prompted her to create a program that would help LGBT adolescents feel more accepted within their families.
In the past, FAP has trained over 50 students to work on the project. Many were undergraduate and graduate students with majors spanning from social work to religion to nursing to ethnic studies.
The project is currently looking for two people to work as counselors who are bilingual with English and Spanish, and English and Cantonese and/or Mandarin.
FAP is always accepting volunteers who are interested in its research. To contact them send an e-mail to email@example.com.
As the frantic first days of a new semester begin, many among the forty-seven percent of SF State students who receive financial aid encounter all kinds of hurdles.
The forms and personal identification numbers, the mailings and waiting, the awards and holds, are all common obstacles students face in the process of receiving college money.
"I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Pell Grant until my second year," said Andrea Fender, a Kinesiology major.
Fender thought a visit to the financial aid department would be horrible, until she did it. "It's really easy," she said, and this year "as always, they have been efficient and remarkably friendly."
But she said, "It's like anything else. Come in prepared" to avoid anything slipping through the cracks.
After acquiring aid, students must be careful not to lose it.
Until recently, Bryan Steel, a transfer student from City College of San Francisco, had been an admirer of financial aid and found the process helpful.
Then his Chafee Grant got lost somehow in his transfer. "I'm actually going to City College today," he said on the first day of class. "There is no record of me receiving the grant. I'm a special case."
Students can lose their aid in many other ways. The most common of which are listed on the Financial Aid Department's website.
Some students may not take enough units to meet the requirements. The financial aid department said this is the most common problem, usually because waitlisted units don't count.
Others may not maintain the required GPA for awards, which is a 2.0.
Students can also exceed the maximum degree unit limit, according to the financial aid office. For graduate students, it's 75; for undergraduates, it's 175 - a number that is tougher to stay away from the longer a student is in school.
Alex Sarmiento plans on attending SF State in the fall. He is currently enrolled at City College of San Francisco. An intermittent student since 2000, Sarmiento has already exceeded City College's maximum unit limit, and is now thinking about careful progress through SF State.
"At first I was just going through the motions," said Sarmiento on getting an associate degree in little more than three years without financial aid. The maximum unit limit does not change if units are incurred without aid, he said.
Sarmiento is planning his courses carefully while preparing for a major in Creative Writing.
"It's really embarrassing," he said of the whole process. "I haven't even told my family about this."
Barbara Hubler, Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, had reassuring words for students concerned about exceeding the unit limit.
"Certainly why they have exceeded plays a part," said Hubler of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee's role in considering requests to exceed maximum unit totals, "but the committee is in no position to judge. A plan for the future is the most important part."
Hubler said the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee meets twice a month, and has representatives from the Financial Aid Department, Disability Profiles and Research Center, Student Affairs, Associated Students, Undergraduate Advising, and EOP.
Hubler said with a "viable graduation plan that includes graduation in the shortest time possible," first time appeals are usually approved. According to Hubler, the second appeal is "much harder to get," and there is no third appeal.
Every college develops its own process for monitoring a student's academic progress based on standards set by the U.S. Department of Education. Those standards include a minimum C or better grade point average, a maximum time limit for a student's program, and specific appeals procedures for students.
California State University officials continue to save costs by freezing hiring and salaries as the state continues to be in budget crisis.
On Friday, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said a salary freeze would be implemented on vice president level positions, presidents' and including him effective immediately.
Last year, CSU officials limited the enrollment of all CSU campuses to help save costs, but Reed said more needs to be done.
"We have also been forced to suspend and shut down state-funded design and construction projects on all of our campuses in response to the state's freezing of $600 million in general-obligation and lease revenue bonds used to finance these projects," Reed said in a press release.
Projects affected include libraries, performing art centers and upgrades to campus buildings.