California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty and Vice President for Advancement Peter Smits joined CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, more than a dozen CSU presidents and campus delegations met with Gov. Brown to talk about the impact of budget cuts on the CSU.
Already facing a $500 million reduction in funding, the CSU could have to deal double that amount for 2011-12 if the governor’s proposed tax extensions are rejected.
“We asked the Governor what we can do to help,” Reed told reporters following the meeting on Tuesday, May 24. “We want to do everything we can to get those four votes to extend these revenues. We will keep working toward that goal.”
“California is at a turning point,” said Brown. “We need to decide whether we are going to adequately fund our universities or not. And, that is really the decision to be made first by the legislature and then by the people.”
The governor and Legislature have already approved a budget that will reduce CSU funding by $500 million for the 2011-12 fiscal year. In response to the initial cut, CSU had announced that it will enroll fewer students this fall, and apply an estimated $146 million from tuition increases already approved for fall 2011 to the budget reductions.
Across the system, campuses were asked to reduce their budgets by an additional $281 million, and the chancellor’s office will be cut by $10.8 million or 14 percent.
At Fresno State, the budget reduction is $20 million, and approximately 600 students who were qualified to enroll had to be turned away.
“If there is an all cuts budget, we’ll be pushed to the wall,” added Reed. “We would have to increase tuition by over 30 percent, turn away 20,000 to 30,000 students, and we would still be $100 million short.”
In his May Revise, the governor warned that if his proposed temporary tax extensions are rejected, the CSU would face an additional $500 million cut, bringing the total to $1 billion.
Earlier this month, the CSU outlined a contingency plan of action to address such an “all cuts” budget. Under this plan, CSU said it would “wait list” applications for winter and spring 2012 and consider an additional tuition fee increase of up to 32 percent. Under this worst case scenario, CSU estimates it could turn away 20,000 qualified applicants who would otherwise enroll for the winter/spring 2012 terms.
In addition to legislative visits to advocate on behalf of the CSU, on Monday, May 23, Chancellor Reed was presented with a resolution in recognition of the CSU’s 50th anniversary. Created by the signing of the Donahoe Higher Education Act, the CSU will have awarded over 2.6 million degrees to graduates after the conclusion of commencements scheduled for this May and June.