At its regular meeting today, the California State University Board of Trustees discussed the balance of priorities for the $125.1 million increase proposed by the Governor for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The budget plan presented to the board focuses on three major areas – student access and success, faculty and staff compensation and mandatory costs.
“After struggling through one of the toughest times in CSU history, the system is now in a position to address some of its critical needs,” said Robert Turnage, assistant vice chancellor for budget. “Putting students first, the CSU’s budget plan strikes a balance among the many legitimate claims for available resources.”
Overall, the proposed increase in state support for the CSU would bring state funding levels to $2.3 billion for the support of university programs and operations. This reverses the trend of dramatic state support declines that cut more than 30 percent of state funding – or nearly $1 billion in annual support – from the system over five years.
Student Access and Success
Based on the Governor’s proposal, the CSU has no plans for any tuition fee increases for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The system will also begin to address the unprecedented demand for a CSU education. An investment of $21.7 million will allow the CSU to grow by almost 6,000 students across the system. All campuses will be allocated funding for growth with some smaller campuses receiving additional funds in order to sustain programs. The higher enrollment level is still far short of what is necessary to accommodate the more than 300,000 high school and community college students that have applied to the CSU for fall 2013, which highlights the overwhelming demand to attend the CSU.
Additionally, the Governor’s budget directs $10 million for online strategies to get more students through so-called “bottlenecks.” These funds will support clearer degree pathways while expanding and improving course offerings, advising and course scheduling through the use of technology.
Finally, the CSU will continue to invest in student success by directing $7.2 million to further efforts to reduce time to degree, close the achievement gap and improve graduation rates.
Faculty and Staff Compensation
A modest compensation pool will provide resources to begin addressing the pressing need to recognize the work of faculty and staff as they serve students. The $38 million proposed for this purpose amounts to 1.2 percent of CSU compensation. System and campus executives as well as campus presidents are not included in this compensation pool. Issues related to distribution will be addressed through the collective bargaining process.
Certain costs must be paid by the university in order to maintain operations across the 23 campuses. A total of $48.2 million will cover mandatory increases for employee health benefits, operation and maintenance of new space, and energy costs.
In May, the governor will issue a revised budget that will provide clarity on state revenue levels and funding priorities. The legislature is expected to pass a budget by June 15. The new fiscal year begins July 1. The CSU will continue to monitor and respond to budget developments throughout the process.