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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

December 09, 2003

Budget cuts threaten access, services

Recent budget cuts and ongoing state budget troubles have CSUS and the CSU system facing the prospect of being unable to admit all qualified students next fall—the first time since the state’s “Master Plan for Higher Education” was adopted in 1960.

The “no-growth” scenario for 2004-05 envisioned by the State Legislature would reduce planned enrollment growth at CSUS alone by nearly 2,000 students next year. And if growth funding isn’t available in following years, as many as 53,100 students would be denied access to CSUS by 2012.

“The bottom line is that we’re facing the possibility that a very important compact with the people of California will be broken, and that the public trust will be betrayed,” says CSUS President Alexander Gonzalez.

Already the University has seen a small enrollment decline, from 28,558 last fall to 28,375 this fall.

In spite of budget cuts over the last three years, the campus was expecting 2 percent growth. But officials say some students were probably scared off by rising fees and constant news reports of bad budgets.

CSUS admissions are still limited for the spring, and an earlier-than-usual deadline for fall applications has been set. Students were urged to apply this October and November during the CSU priority filing period for fall 2004.

One bright spot for students hoping to enroll at CSUS is that about 5,000 students graduate each year, while others leave without earning a degree. So even without growth, there’s room for thousands of newcomers.

The access challenge comes as the CSU system faces its toughest fiscal climate since the early 1990s and its largest budget cuts ever.

At CSUS, state appropriations for the budget (not including student fees) dropped from $153.4 million to $140.9 million this year. Non-academic programs were cut 6.5 percent and academic programs were cut 5.5 percent. It was the first time in three years of paring back that the academic program took a cut, and President Gonzalez has warned that while the CSUS budget was difficult to deal with this year, next year’s will likely make things even tougher.

The cuts have been felt across campus:

  • After a 30 percent fee increase in the fall, student fees are now $2,513 a year. In the CSU system as a whole, fees remain the lowest among similar universities nationwide, but the hike has been hard on many students.
  • The equivalent of 40 part-time faculty weren’t hired or rehired.
  • Many open staff positions are not being filled, while others have been eliminated altogether.
  • Student assistant positions are being reduced or eliminated. In the library alone, 16,000 student hours have been cut from the year’s budget and there are currently 37 fewer student assistants than in the spring.
  • Outreach programs were scaled back, and are facing additional cuts.
  • Big reductions have been made to travel, equipment purchases, classroom and lab supplies, and maintenance.
  • The Capital University Journal – the CSUS magazine that’s sent to about 160,000 alumni and friends of the University twice each year – won’t be published in the spring.
  • Faculty “assigned time” – including work on special projects or planning efforts – has been reduced.

Despite the cutbacks, CSUS has maintained its commitment to increasing the number of full-time faculty, hiring about 100 new professors. They replaced a large numbers of retirees and helped achieve a net gain of 36 full-time faculty. And the University was able to offer 330 more class sections this fall than last.

Systemwide, the CSU took an 11 percent cut to its $2.6 billion state general fund budget this year – even after the 30 percent student fee increase. The cuts resulted in about 2,300 staff and faculty positions throughout the system being reduced or frozen. The CSU Chancellor’s Office took a $4.5 million cut.

The CSU Board of Trustees recently approved a $3 billion budget request that seeks a $546.6 million funding increase next year. That includes $57.4 million in mandatory costs, $206.5 million that helps fund a 3 percent enrollment growth and 4 percent compensation increase for faculty and staff, and restoration of $234.6 million in current budget cuts.

But as budgets remain tight, the CSU system has decided to focus on “authentic access”—preserving quality instruction and ensuring that students get the courses they need to graduate.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu