August 2, 2021


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

CSU will reopen campuses in fall 2021

Six days before its application window closes, the California State University system serving nearly half a million students has announced a plan for all 23 of its campuses to reopen next fall after more than a year of virtual instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The early announcement is aimed at helping students and families as they plan for next year — and as they decide whether to apply to Cal State, university leaders said.

“It’s critical that we provide as much advance notice to students and their families, as we have done previously,” Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a statement.

“This decision comes at a good time as high school and transfer students have until Dec. 15 to complete their applications for fall admission,” said Chancellor-select Joseph I. Castro, who takes over in January. “I urge eligible students across the Golden State to apply for admission to one or more CSU campuses.”

In May, the nation’s largest four-year university system similarly came out early with a plan for fall semester — except it was to announce the move to offer almost all-virtual instruction.

Despite that decision, overall enrollment at the university surged to a record high this fall, surpassing 485,000 students. But the number of first-time freshmen dropped significantly, and enrollment also fell at some northern California campuses, following trends from previous years.

Those latter drops were likely on university officials’ minds as they weighed options for next year.

Already Cal State has extended its application deadline for students planning to enter in fall 2021 by 11 days, to Dec. 15. Officials have said that they wanted to ease the burden on students who had experienced challenges as a result of the pandemic and ensure that the deadline was not a barrier to applications.

Some high school counselors and students have predicted a drop-off in applications, especially among low-income and first-generation students who have pressing financial and family concerns to attend to and who lack the resources at home to apply on their own.

Cal State is remaining virtual through the end of the current academic year to ensure the health and safety of all members of its 23 campus communities, but that “emerging evidence provides optimism” that the 2021-22 academic year will allow for in-person instruction, a news release said.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel with the promising progress on vaccines,” White said.