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FIRM PUTTING CSU SYSTEM AT CLICK OF A MOUSE BUTTON.

Byline: Yvette Cabrera Daily News Staff Writer

Crammed into a tiny office, Encino resident Allen Firstenberg and his 14 employees are busy hammering out the details of the new Web site they're creating for the California State University system.

Firstenberg's firm - the XAP Corp. - has been doing little else since it won the three-year $1.1 million contract to develop the CSU Mentor site on the Internet.

``One of the things that excites me is how closely we're working with the CSU staff and our hopes of taking this technology and applying it across the United States,'' Firstenberg said.

Using the new site, students will be able to take on-line tours of all 22 CSU campuses and apply to any - or all - CSU campuses on line by completing a single application form. Students also will be able to plug into an academic planner that will help them pick the high school courses to prepare them for a college-level curriculum and get general financial aid information.

Firstenberg, the former director of the Rockwell International Science Center who worked on the Viking Mars Lander and the 1977 Voyager program, said he and his idea-rich staff of twentysomethings form the perfect mix.

``They're young and I'm old and they tend to have more progressive views,'' said the 54-year-old Firstenberg. ``I think I know what's right and they think they know what's right. And we'll fight, but it's because we all care so much - all the fighting is so that we create the best thing for the universities.''

CSU officials said they're banking on the new site stimulating enough interest to increase enrollment and diversity.

``This whole on-line program is to reach out and touch students well before they get into the pipeline,'' said Russ Utterberg, senior director for strategic projects for the CSU chancellor's office.

Firstenberg's West Los Angeles firm, formed in 1992, was among the first companies to create on-line college applications. Through XAP's program, students can now apply to the more than 200 colleges and universities subscribing to the program simply by filling out one form. The applications are electronically delivered within 24 hours and in some cases, application processing fees are reduced for those who file on line.

``I think the program has been a great success - several hundred thousand students have applied to college using computer applications by XAP,'' Firstenberg said. ``I believe someday 80 to 90 percent of college students will apply by computer. And we started it all.''

All CSU campuses began offering Firstenberg's on-line application process in November, shortly after XAP was awarded the contract. Since then, about 1,400 applications have been filed on line.

Joshua Weiner, a 19-year-old freshman at Cal State Northridge who is considering transferring to Sonoma State University - also a CSU school, submitted his application in January using the on-line process.

``I thought it was easier to apply over the Internet because I didn't have to write it out, I didn't have to get it to the mail,'' said Weiner, a Northridge resident. ``I did it right here in my own dorm room.''

That's the kind of reaction Firstenberg and CSU officials hope the new Web site will generate when it hits the Internet this November.

``I think in the long run it certainly will increase enrollment,'' said Utterberg. ``Clearly it will make it easier for the student to apply to CSU. It will also encourage the students to be better prepared.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: Allen Firstenberg is president of the XAP Corp., which is designing the California State University system's Web site and application process.

John McCoy/Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 9, 1997
Words:600
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