In the wake of a projected $584 million budget deficit, the California State University system has taken the drastic step of closing all winter and spring admissions for 2010.
The admissions freeze will be imposed at all 23 CSU campuses including CSU Stanislaus and will include both new and transferring students, said university spokesperson Kristin Olsen.
“We regret having to implement more enrollment reduction strategies, especially since we have been growing steadily over the past four years to meet the increased demand for higher education in the Central Valley,” said CSU Stanislaus President Ham Shirvani. “Nevertheless, the governor’s and legislature’s cuts to CSU have left us with no other choice but to reduce enrollment in order to maintain academic quality.”
Closing the winter and spring admissions will have the biggest impact on community college transfer and graduate students, Olsen said. CSU Stanislaus typically admits 1,000 students during the two terms.
The closure of admissions is just one part of a system-wide strategy put in place to address the $584 million state funding cut that is being proposed by the governor. The Board of Trustees is discussing a range of options that include employee furloughs, enrollment reductions, and increased student fees.
CSU will be operating on a budget of $1.6 billion for this fiscal year, which is $500 million less than 10 years ago.
“We have never before seen such a devastating cut in a single year,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “I am really concerned because the CSU system has a national reputation for access, quality and diversity.”
“We are facing a historic downturn in state revenues,” said Robert Turnage, CSU assistant vice chancellor for budget. “No single option can solve the problem, and the problem will extend beyond 2009-10. The realities of operating our campuses requires moving forward, even if action on the state budget is delayed.”
To illustrate the magnitude of the cuts, the $584 million is equivalent to the funding provided by the state for about 95,000 students or approximately the number of students CSU graduates each year. Turnage emphasized that it is likely that the state will take a long time to recover, and that any plan for CSU needs to anticipate fiscal uncertainty for at least the next 24 months.
To help stave off a rash of employee lay-offs, the CSU Employees Union, which represents more than 16,000 non-academic employees, agreed to take furloughs two days a month.
Approximately 85 percent of CSU’s budget goes toward employee salary and benefits, and CSU is proposing to furlough all of its employees — with the exception of public safety personnel — in all classifications, including management and executives, to help close the anticipated budget deficit. According to CSU, furloughs by all employees would reduce the salary expenditures by about $275 million, as well as preserve 22,000 course sections or 15 percent of all classes for students for the academic year.
To date, approximately 21,000 of CSU’s overall workforce of 47,000 employees have committed to furloughs as one part of the overall effort to address the massive deficit.
At a board meeting on July 21, the trustees will hear further budget reduction plans that include an enrollment reduction of 32,000 students system-wide for the 2010-11 school year and a fee increase that would take effect in the upcoming fall semester.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.