May 8-9, 2003
Recommended CSU Budget Priority for 2003-2004

ATTACHMENT 1 TO AS-2632-03/FGA/AA - May 8-9, 2003


RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) urge the CSU Board of Trustees to secure funding that will ensure a high quality education for every student admitted to the CSU; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) urge the CSU Board of Trustees to limit enrollment to the number of students for whom the state has provided sufficient funding.

RATIONALE: Since the Donahoe Act of 1960, the state of California has taken pride in seeking two goals in public higher education that are commonly summarized as "quality" and "access." Both of these goals have been enshrined in California code: "It is the intent of the Legislature that the segments of higher education recognize that quality teaching is the core ingredient of the undergraduate educational experience" (66050). The CSU's success in achieving these goals, in turn, has traditionally been dependent upon the state's willingness to provide the necessary resources, a commitment it also makes explicit in code "The State of California reaffirms its historic commitment to ensure adequate resources to support enrollment growth" (66202.5).

Unfortunately, the resources provided by the state in recent years have been inadequate for the CSU to achieve both of these goals at the highest level. Access, in the form of nearly unlimited admission to qualified students, has been preserved. However, shortfalls in funding during this period have been "paid for" by reductions in quality, as outlined in the report The California State University at the Beginning of the 21st Century. The CSU has reached the point where additional reductions to the quality of the education it provides are intolerable. To quote a former CSU administrator, "access without quality is not access."

Because the admissions calendar does not correspond to the state budget calendar, the CSU admits students for an academic year prior to receiving the budget that is required to pay for that academic year. In years when the state fails to meet its legislative commitment to support enrollment growth the CSU must still accept and educate those students who have already been admitted. In the past, the CSU has done so by accepting an on-going deterioration in the quality of the education it has provided. Examples of this deterioration, as highlighted The California State University at the Beginning of the 21st Century, include:

  • Failure of student-faculty ratios to return to their pre-1990 levels
  • Increasingly inadequate technology and staff to support instruction
  • Purchasing power for library collections have plummeted while the librarian-student ratio has worsened by almost 45%
  • Non-competitive salaries combined with California's high cost of living have diminished our ability to recruit the best faculty from a national pool
  • Expanded reliance, since 1990, on temporary faculty rather than permanent faculty has led to a concomitant increase in permanent faculty service loads, which has resulted in a declining capacity to mentor and advise students
  • Accumulation of delayed maintenance

The CSU has reached the point when reducing admissions has become the lesser of the evils. Cuts in quality must not be the sole mechanism for surviving difficult budgets, for quality will reach a level at which access itself becomes meaningless, prompting the question "access to what?" To maintain an acceptable level of quality, it is necessary for the CSU to limit enrollment to the number of students for which we have sufficient resources. Growth in enrollment during a time of diminished resources ultimately serves no one. In order to implement this necessary but unpleasant measure, the Board must be prepared to reduce the number of students admitted to correspond to any shortfall in state provided enrollment growth funds for the previous year.


May 8-9, 2003

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