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Report 04-7: Student Access, Institutional Capacity, and Public Higher Education Enrollment Demand, 2003-2013

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

June 2004

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Numerous economic and political events have unfolded in California and the nation since the California Postsecondary Education Commission released its statewide higher education enrollment projections in year 2000 and a series of regional enrollment studies published between 2001 and April 2003. This current report represents a major update to the Commissionís previous enrollment studies by projecting public undergraduate enrollment demand under various economic circumstances for the ten-year period, 2003 to 2010. Also included are analyses related to institutional classroom capacity and instructional marginal cost funding per full-time equivalent student. Among the major findings are the following:

  • As Californiaís economy and fiscal outlook improves, the Commission anticipates that undergraduate demand will increase at a moderate annual rate and will total 2.83 million by year 2013. The expected growth represents a 34 percent increase in demand over the number of undergraduates participating in public colleges and universities during Fall 2003.
  • When the Commissionís undergraduate forecast is combined with the Department of Financeís most recent graduate projections, enrollment demand is shown to total 2.96 million by 2013, representing about 741,000 additional students.
  • To meet demand in year 2013, the Commissionís analysis suggests that approximately $3.1 billion more in instructional-related funding will be required than is currently provided through a combination of State General Fund Support and Student Fee Revenue. The cost estimate does not include additional funds that will be needed for capital outlay projects and student support services.
  • Based on the Stateís current classroom space and utilization standards, the physical plant of Californiaís higher education enterprise will need to be expanded appreciably unless significant efficiencies can be obtained from strategic initiatives related to year-around operations, intersegmental joint facility use, distance/distributed learning, and student-learning productivity.

Related Topics: Enrollment Demand and Capacity Analysis | Equity, Access, and College Preparation

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(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at

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