View Mobile Site

Text Size: Smaller Larger Normal

CSU system faces drastic cuts in enrollment, employees

POSTED March 22, 2011 9:34 p.m.

The California State University system will likely enroll at least 10,000 fewer students and cut employees to meet a $550 million funding gap, according to a report delivered to the CSU Board of Trustees Tuesday.

The cuts were proposed as the CSU system reacts to a $500 million reduction in state funding for the upcoming 2011-2012 fiscal year, and a $50 million increase in mandatory costs such as employee health benefits and increasing energy costs. Per the cost reduction strategies discussed Tuesday, the CSU will apply an estimated $142 million of revenue from a previously approved tuition fee increase – $444 for next year – but will still be forced to cut $400 million.

The CSU expects to cut funded student enrollment by over 10,000 students, saving $60 million; the CSU enrolls more than 412,000 students currently, and has shed 24,000 students since 2008. The CSU Chancellor’s Office will cut $10.8 million – about 14 percent – while the remainder of the cut, $281 million, will come from campus budget reductions.

“We have tasked the presidents with managing most of these budget cuts at the campus level, and they will have to make some very difficult decisions in light of the magnitude of this reduction in state support,” CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said.  “The Chancellor's Office will also be facing a large cut and we will make some tough choices there as well.”

At least $250 million in cuts will come from personnel – 84 percent of the CSU’s operating cost. Since 2008, the CSU has cut 4,145 employees, or 8.8 percent of total employees.

The cuts will reduce state funding to the 1999-2000 level, despite 70,000 more students attending the CSU. The $500 million state cut is 18 percent of the CSU’s total state-supported budget, amounting to funding for 85,000 students.

Yet, should the tax extensions proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown not be approved by California voters – or not make ballots in the first place – the CSU could be forced to cut an additional $500 million, a potential one-year 37 percent reduction in state funding. The move would provide the CSU with just $1.79 billion total, equivalent to 1996 funding when the CSU served 100,000 fewer students.

To bridge that gap, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office proposed funding the enrollment of a further 10,000 fewer students, a 10 percent, $480 per year tuition increase on top of the already approved $444 increase, and a 5 percent decrease in faculty and staff compensation. After those adjustments, the CSU would still need to make $162 million in further cuts to balance its budget.

“A cut of $1 billion in state support would have devastating effects on the CSU,” Reed said.  “A reduction of that level would force us to reexamine potentially drastic measures including much larger cuts to enrollment and increased tuition fees among other strategies.  This type of cut would have long-lasting effects on the level of access and service that CSU can provide to students and would negatively impact California's economy, both in the near and long term.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

Commenting is not available.

Share on Facebook Bookmark and Share
Commenting not available.

Please wait ...