As budget thins, admissions become more difficult

Statewide budget cuts will be felt by students applying to USF for the 2008-2009 academic year.

To economize, the University plans to admit fewer students, causing competition for the remaining spots to rise among incoming freshmen and transfer students.

It is not yet clear how dramatic cuts will be, but the administration said it will remain stringent about maintaining the quality of education, primarily by restricting enrollment.

“The only way to maintain quality in the time of budget cuts is to limit student enrollment,” Provost Ralph Wilcox said.

Assistant Vice President for Decision Support Michael Moore said that students who have already been admitted are not likely to feel any drastic changes because of the budget cuts.

“Drastic is in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “If you don’t get in, that would be drastic. Things will continue for those already here.”

Final decisions cannot be made regarding admissions until state allocations – money the University gets from the state – are finalized later in April or May. Moore said he does not want students or faculty to worry.

“We don’t want students or faculty to panic or think we’re not working for their best interests,” Moore said.

What is definite, however, is the difficulty of getting into the University in comparison to past years.

“We’ve set higher GPA requirements across the board,” said Bob Spatig, the University’s director of admissions.

The average GPA for students admitted for fall 2008 is 3.85, compared to the 3.71 average of the fall 2007 freshman class.

The University also won’t admit any transfer students with fewer than 36 credit hours, and any student transferring from a community college must meet the GPA requirement of his or her intended major, according to a Tuesday press release.

Spatig said freshman applications are up 10 percent and transfer applications are up 17 percent at all four campuses.

As a result, there is more demand and competition for a limited number of spaces. Moore said that students who want to be on a diverse, metropolitan campus fuel this competition.

Spatig agreed.

“I think we’ve become more of a school of choice for students who want to be in a metropolitan campus and not in a college town or suburban school,” he said. “Our engagement with Tampa is looking to be a real selling point, as well as our broad diversity.”