Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
CHESS Conference
Sacramento, CA
April 13, 2007

Thank you, Khouloud (Elmasri).

It is good to be here speaking with you at your annual Sacramento event. The leadership training you will receive here will benefit you long past this weekend. I hope that you will take these skills and continue to use them for the benefit of your campuses, as well as for the entire California State University system.

The more you are civically engaged, the better your experience as students will be.

It is hard to believe, but this is my 10th time speaking before this group. I have worked with many students before you who are now in graduate school, on school boards, and in various career fields, using their CSU degrees. That is what makes me proud – to see you come in as students, become active, and then take your place in the workforce.

When I hear back from our graduates, they talk about the value of their CSU education.

When I hear from industry leaders who have hired our graduates, they talk about how they come ready to go to work.

That also makes me proud, because I know that what we provide is access to high quality, affordable higher education.

I hope that you recognize the value of your CSU education, and when you graduate, that you will feel the same pride in being a CSU graduate. And that you join your alumni associations and give back to your campuses.

Issues:

Let me talk a little about the issues here in Sacramento.

During the past decade, the California State University has experienced many of the ups and downs that you would expect to challenge the largest public university system in the country.

While many of these challenges remain, I believe that it is important for you to focus on what IS working when you speak with elected officials and their staffs.

CSU Budget

We have gone through some very difficult budget years, and the CSU has not fully recovered yet. But, our compact agreement with the Governor has provided us with the stability needed to move forward toward the future. With a predicted state deficit of $2 billion, this is positive news – we need the compact’s stability.

This coming year, we’ll be able to admit about 11,000 additional students to our university system. We also will receive an increase to our base budget.
Without the compact, there would be no assurances of receiving adequate funds to maintain the quality education expected from the CSU.

We are pleased that the Governor recognizes the value of the CSU and its 23 campuses.

For this coming year, we are asking for a $292.5 million increase. The largest percentage – 55 percent – would fund compensation increases for our 46,000 employees.

Student Fees:

The budget includes a 10 percent student fee increase. I know that does not make you happy – fee increases rarely do.

Last year the Governor “bought out” the fee increase by providing us with $54.4 million. If he bought it out for the coming year, it would total $65.2 million.

Our Board of Trustees has said that if all or a portion of the fee increase is again “bought out,” the board would rescind the increase.

While fee increases are difficult for some students, about 35 percent, or 146,000 of our students, will not have to pay any increase due to financial aid.

With any fee increase, the CSU sets aside one-third for needy students.

For those undergraduates who do have to pay more, the increase will be $252 a year, or $126 per semester.

California State University fees are still among the very lowest in the nation.

As you talk to legislators about our fees, I hope you will remember our financial aid policies, and how our fees are very low, especially for the quality of education you receive.

Let me make a few more points on the budget:

We are asking the governor and legislators to restore $7 million for academic preparation and outreach programs to our budget.

And we are asking for additional funding for the Student Services Initiative, Cal Grant Financial Aid, and the one percent additional compensation for CSU employees.

I know you know how important outreach, Cal Grants and funds for students services are, so we hope that you can mention these issues in your discussions.

The Student Services Initiative will allow the campuses to restore and expand services necessary to ensure student success and raise graduation rates.

We know that it is not just important to help students enter our doors. What REALLY counts is having all of you leave with a baccalaureate degree in your hands.

Cal Grants

Speaking of financial aid, I want to thank you for all your help with last year’s bill, AB 2813, on Cal Grant B. We have made progress, but we need to continue to press forward on this issue.

It is too important to too many students and their families not to keep it on the front burner with legislators.

Therefore, I know you will be supporting both AB 302 by Hector De La Torre and AB 175 by Curren Price that will provide additional funds for students receiving a Cal Grant B. These bills are both good for students.

Wrap-Up:

Let me end my talk by giving you some of the key points I have learned from speaking to legislators over the years:

One: Be clear about what you are asking for.

Two: Do not overstay your time. Get in, make your points and get out. Legislators and their staffs are busy, and usually do not have lots of extra time.

Three: Remember that you are probably the most important voices that legislators hear from regarding the California State University. You are the face of the university; you are the ones who receive the benefits of higher education.

Go in as proud students of the California State University.

Student Trustee Andrew LaFlamme, who represents you passionately on the Board of Trustees, and Nadir Vissanjy, chair of CSSA (California State Student Association), are examples of good student leaders, and I want to thank them personally for what they do for the California State University.

There is no better university system in the country, and you are its best representatives.

You are part of the CSU family that is Working for California everyday.

Thank you.

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