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CSU asks state to offset tuition increase
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The California State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday adopted a 2011-2012 budget which calls for an additional $379 million in state general fund support – including a request for the state to spend $121.5 million to “buy out” a 10 percent tuition increase also approved Wednesday.

"Our budget proposal is tempered by the fiscal uncertainty that California continues to face, and the resources needed by the CSU to properly serve our students," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.  "The CSU's enrollment will be higher than the previous two years and we are hopeful that the incoming governor and the legislature will realize the importance of providing the funding to support the services critical for the success of these students."

The proposal looks to restore funding to a CSU which has seen state support cut by $625 million in recent years, while adding $135 million in mandatory cost increases. The 2010-2011 California budget restored $260 million funding, bringing the CSU budget to 2005-2006 levels, but did so in part with $106 million in one-time federal stimulus funds intended to increase University enrollment. Funding to support those new students will dry up before graduation.

The proposal calls for $106 million to replace one-time federal stimulus funds, $64.8 million to fund a 2.5 percent enrollment growth, $58 million for a student success initiative, $24.9 million in general operations, and $121.5 million to buy out the proposed 2011-2012 tuition increase.

That tuition increase – adopted by the CSU Trustees just before the budget – calls for a 10 percent tuition increase, or $444, for the 2011-2012 academic year. The CSU hopes the proposed state funding will allow the University to rescind the tuition increase.

The CSU will use the tuition increases to sustain enrollment levels, add classes, and provide student services.

The CSU isn’t asking for a state buyout of a 5 percent – $105 – tuition increase for the remainder of the current school year, also approved Wednesday.

This year’s tuition increase was adopted with a 14-2 vote, with Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and student Trustee Nicole Anderson opposing. The 2011-2012 increase was approved 13-3, with Trustee Melinda Guzman joining Maldonado and Anderson in opposition.

The estimated 180,000 students receiving financial aid – half of all CSU undergrads – will be fully covered for the increases, according to the CSU. The CSU also says that tens of thousands of other students will benefit from newly expanded federal tax credits, offsetting some of the cost of education.

The CSU will next submit their budget plan to the State Department of Finance, which will use the document to craft a budget plan. Newly elected Gov. Jerry Brown will reveal a proposed budget in January which will be revised in May and, constitutionally, should be adopted by the legislature by June 15. The 2010-2011 State budget was signed on Oct. 8, 100 days after the constitutional deadline and the latest budget approved in state history.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.