Facing a $564 million budget cut for this fiscal year, California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed provided an update on the drastic measures that the CSU is undertaking to address the deficit including slashing enrollment by more than 40,000 students, as demand to attend the CSU continues to rise.
CSU estimates that it cut 4,000 students in fall 2009, and will see a much larger drop in spring as a result of curtailing enrollment including the elimination of spring admissions. In all, CSU needs to reduce its student numbers by more than 40,000 students in order to match student enrollment with funding received from the state.
“Last year, we declared systemwide impaction and said we were going to reduce enrollment by 10,000 students that we did not receive any funding for by the state,” said Reed. “By spring, we will reach that total, and project an even larger enrollment decrease for fall 2010. This reduction in access is the direct result of the almost $600 million that has been cut from our budget. You cannot see a 20 percent drop in revenue and serve the same number of students.”
Campuses are currently in the process of receiving applications for admissions in fall 2010, and to date, the CSU has received more than 266,000 applications, a 53 percent increase over the same time last year. Specifically, there has been a 127 percent increase in the number of applications from community college transfers, partially due to the closing of spring admissions that heavily impacts transfer students from community colleges. Freshmen applications are up by about 32 percent over the same time period last year.
“Denying students access to higher education is just about one of the worst things you can do in a recession,” said Reed. “The state needs our graduates to enter the workforce and help the state’s economic recovery. But, when your budget is cut so drastically, we are left with little choice but to restrict our enrollment.”
CSU officials did stress the importance of students applying by November 30, when about half of its campuses will stop accepting applications for all freshmen, and most community college transfer students. Students are also encouraged to apply to the campus in their local service area.
Chancellor Reed also provided a preview of the proposed 2010-2011 budget that the CSU will present to its board of trustees next week. Calling it a “recover and reinvest” budget, CSU is asking the state to restore funding for one-time cuts imposed in 2009-2010 totaling $305 million, as well as an additional $587 million for mandatory cost increases, enrollment growth, compensation increases, and a restoration of the revenues that would have been part of the Compact funding for higher education. The total $884 million increase includes a request for revenue needed for the legislature to “buy out” a 10 percent student fee increase. The board is expected to vote on the budget at its meeting November 17 and forward the request to the Governor and the legislature.
“This is a very ambitious budget in these very challenging times,” said Reed, “but it is critical that the state legislature and administration realize the true fiscal needs to run the CSU.”