Locals no longer guaranteed admission to SJSU

SAN JOSE, Calif.

San Jose State has always been loyal to its local students and many say that's the way it should be. Leopoldo Rodriguez is a transfer student from Evergreen Valley Community College in San Jose.

"I live here, I pay taxes here, therefore I should be able to afford the right to continue going to school where I live at, it's only fair," Rodriguez said.

More than $50 million in state budget cuts this year to SJSU means changes to the admissions policy. Starting next fall, local students who meet the minimum CSU requirements of a 2.0 GPA no longer will be guaranteed a spot.

"We're putting a campus minimum admissions standard that will be potentially higher than the CSU minimum depending on what the applicant pool is for any given year is," Vice President for Student Affairs William Nance said.

Last fall, about 9,000 local high school students and community college transfer students automatically qualified for enrollment at San Jose State. Under the new system, about 1,400 of them would have been turned away.

Some students say the stricter standards will just help to level the playing field.

"I worked really hard to get in here and I think it would have been nice to have people that are actually working hard before they get in here and not kind of banking on the fact that they have an easier time getting in because they are local," freshman Kim Behrouzian said.

But San Jose State University President Mo Qayoumi says restricting access to higher education is never a good thing and offered some personal insight when asked him why he was so opposed to eliminating the local guarantees.

"The only reason why I am here as a president of San Jose State University and not working at a construction site in Afghanistan is because I had the opportunity to go to college," Qayoumi said.

Even with stricter standards, local area students will still get preferential treatment.

Rodriguez says he is now earning a 3.6 GPA.

"That's the type of people that this little thing is going to affect people like me who are trying to better themselves at a later point in life because the door has been shut," Rodriguez said.

Qayoumi says Sacramento is forcing the university to make changes it doesn't want and hopes it can eventually reverse.

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