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California colleges to face surge of students in next decade

A tidal wave of students may flood California's colleges and universities by the year 2010  

October 3, 1999
Web posted at: 9:30 p.m. EDT (0130 GMT)

From Correspondent Rusty Dornin

BERKELEY, California (CNN) -- When California educators look at 10-year-old Brandon King and his classmates, they see a tidal wave.

By the year 2010, a surge of students is expected to flood the states colleges and universities -- some 700,000 additional students in higher education, which amounts to a growth rate of between 35 and 40 percent.

California schools have not seen such a giant influx since the baby-boom generation hit colleges in the 1960s. Compounding matters is a promise made back then that the top 12 percent of high school graduates would get into the state higher education system.

Already, the University of California system spends $250 million a year to maintain its campuses. The price tag for new construction and renovation is expected to rise to $500 million in the next decade.

Finding a place for all these new students may require creativity, according to some people who have looked hard at the problem.

"We will not build our way out, and we will not buy our way out entirely," says Warren Fox of the California Post-Secondary Education Commission. "We need great productivity and efficiency by our campuses to be able to take all these students."

Better efficiency will likely mean year-round schedules and attending classes via the Internet.

"We're going to have to figure out a way for students to go through school faster so more can come in," says Sandra Smith, a UC spokeswoman.

For students such as Brandon, though, the crush will mean more competition for slots in the state system -- something which worries his father, Martin.

"It will be costlier and the kids will have to have a higher (grade point average)," he says. "That means pressure will be higher."

UC Berkeley - Welcome
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