Posted June 13, 2014
Today, the Governor, Speaker of the Assembly and Senate Pro Tem issued a media statement reflecting state budget priorities. While the Governor has until June 30 to approve the Budget Act, it appears a final budget is pending confirmation. It is expected that the Budget Act will reflect the Conference Committee’s budget proposal to the Legislature, which maintained a $142.2 million allocation for the California State University (CSU).
“If the final budget mirrors the Conference Committee’s recommendation, it will enable the university to maintain existing programs and services and tuition fees, which will remain stable for the fourth consecutive year,” explained Chancellor Timothy P. White. “Our biggest challenge going forward is that this proposed funding level falls below the threshold we need to admit the thousands of fully eligible California students who seek a CSU education,” he explained. Even though the proposed budget allocation is an increase over fiscal year 2013-14, it places the university’s funding at the 2004-05 level when the system served 50,000 fewer students. Over the last two years, the system has experienced a 12 percent increase in applications and turned away more than 25,000 fully eligible students. “Our state cannot afford to perpetuate this trend. We can only sustain a climate of innovation and economic growth with a college-educated citizenry. The CSU stands ready to do its part to increase the number of college graduates but we can only do so with adequate, sustained funding,” he explained.
If the final budget mirrors that of the Conference Committee proposal, it may also contain a new capital and debt service framework that will give the CSU Board of Trustees the added flexibility and authority to direct resources to the campuses with the greatest programmatic and facility needs. This new provision would enable the university to begin to address a $1.8 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects.
The $142.2 million is part of the Governor’s multi-year funding plan. This amount is roughly $95 million below the Support Budget approved by the CSU Board of Trustees in November 2013, which was based on actual operating costs and investments in hiring more faculty and staff to serve our students, expanding the strategies that support student success, increasing employee compensation and addressing facility and infrastructure needs. Throughout this spring, efforts were underway by a cross-section of the CSU community to increase the funding allocation to support these efforts and enroll 20,000 more students in fall 2014. These efforts resulted in both houses making recommendations to the Conference Committee to increase the system’s funding allocation.
“The collective grassroots advocacy work of our campus presidents, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the many others who were ‘in the trenches’ meeting with lawmakers about the CSU’s funding challenges and the need for the additional $95 million underscores our collective commitment to the mission of the university,” Chancellor White explained. “I am also grateful to the lawmakers who made a commitment to ‘Stand With the CSU’ in the budget negotiations and understand that the CSU is a critical component in supporting the economic recovery and long-term prosperity of the state. We look forward to working with you to resolve the university’s funding challenges so that we can serve more students,” Chancellor White added.