HAYWARD (KPIX 5) — California State University promised tens of thousands of students a slot in the freshman class, but now it’s saying there’s not enough room.

Cal State University turned away more qualified applicants than ever last year. The university turned away one in 10 students, or about 31,000 people.

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Most of the CSU campuses are at capacity and the competition is tougher than ever.

“I would say it’s competitive,” said Alicia Padilla-Noboa, a freshman at Cal State East Bay. She says getting accepted to a California state college isn’t as easy as it used to be.

“No matter what, college is always going to be hard to get into, you just have to fight your way through it if you really want it,” Padilla-Noboa said.

On Wednesday, CSU faculty leaders took aim at what they say is years of fiscal starvation.

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They set up a visual protest of empty classroom chairs with the message “Every Student Deserves a Seat – Fund the CSU!” on the north lawn of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Alice Sunshine, the communications director of the California Faculty Association said, “We need to speak out about this. The public needs our students to get their college degrees. The state’s economy needs it.”

So what’s changed?

State funding isn’t keeping pace with all the extra applications.

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Only six of the 23 CSU campuses have enough room to accommodate all qualified freshmen.

Juliette Goodrich