The California State University was founded more
than four decades ago with a mission to provide access to a quality higher
education to California’s students. Since then it has grown into the country’s
largest, most diverse, and most affordable four-year public university system, with
approximately 400,000 students, more than 53 percent of whom are minority, and some
of the lowest student fees in the country. The CSU also stands head and shoulders
above all of the other universities in California when it comes to preparing students
to enter the workforce, graduating nearly 82,000 students each year into California’s
workforce—including the majority of the skilled workers in California’s critical
industries such as agriculture, engineering, business, technology, media, and computer
The CSU is not only a driving force behind California’s economic development; it
is vital to California’s economic prosperity. A recent study by an
independent consulting firm found that CSU-related expenditures create over $13
billion in economic impact and support over 207,000 jobs in California.
When the higher earnings of our graduates are taken into account, the CSU’s impact
reaches $53 billion, supporting approximately 527,000 jobs in the state.
In addition, California reaps more than a four-fold benefit from every dollar the
state invests in the CSU. Clearly, an investment in the California State
University is an investment in California.
Looking forward over the next several years, the CSU is presented with an
outstanding opportunity to create new pathways of educational services for
California residents and to confront several challenges to its progress on
fundamental academic and financial benchmarks.
The 2004 compact agreement with the governor will allow the CSU to offset short-term
variations in the state’s fiscal condition with a long-term commitment to
accomplish several key priorities:
Most importantly, the governor’s compact allows predictable and stable funding over
a multiyear period, which enables the CSU to implement a comprehensive graduation
initiative aimed at helping more students complete degrees and preserving access
for as many students as possible. As a part of this initiative, the university is
developing campus roadmaps to graduation for each undergraduate degree program and
has established lower division course patterns for each undergraduate degree major
for transfer students. These actions—combined with the CSU’s initiatives to
improve the academic preparation of K-12 students through its Early Assessment
Program and our effort to help ensure alignment with community colleges through
the Lower Division Transfer Program—have the potential to substantially
improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the university in performing its core
mission, and to ensure that the opportunity of higher education is available to
- Proactive planning for enrollments that are conservatively estimated to grow by
roughly 44,000 full-time students over the next five years.
- A five-year growth plan to increase the number of newly credentialed math and
science teachers for California.
- Comprehensive strategies to recruit and prepare new students in special
education credential programs, and to support the development of university faculty
who will train special education teachers for California.
- Initiatives to increase the number of basic/clinical nursing program graduates
within existing programs by expanding pre-licensure and master’s degree nursing
education offered at 14 campuses, and to increase the capacity of the CSU to attract,
serve, and graduate more baccalaureate-prepared nursing candidates.
- An internal call from the Board of Trustees and CSU executive management to
improve the salaries of employees for market parity and competitiveness in a
- A continuing commitment to increase financial assistance to cover the cost
of fee rate increases for students with need.
Included in the 2006/07 budget plan are recommendations for $236 million in new spending.
After covering cost increases of $34 million for nondiscretionary expenses such as
full-year collective bargaining compensation costs, health benefits, new facility
space, and purchased utilities (electricity, gas, and water), $192 million of new
resources will be used to address employee compensation increases, enrollment growth,
and student financial aid. A small portion of new revenue ($10 million) will be used to
continue the CSU’s efforts to reduce structural backlogs in library volumes, tackle
deferred maintenance projects, and build infrastructure needed to complete long-range
These funding priorities were formed with an eye toward the long-range goals and
needs of the university, and in consultation with the members of the Board of
Trustees, campus presidents, representatives of the CSU Academic Senate,members of
the System Budget Advisory Committee (which includes student, faculty, staff,
alumni, and administrative representatives), and the chief administrative and
academic officers of the CSU.
Last, but not least,we have opened our doors to students displaced by the
catastrophic aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast. We are
adapting plans and restructuring policies to address this unplanned challenge
without jeopardizing our commitment to serve Californians pursuing a university
degree. Additionally,we are monitoring the impact of these natural disasters on
the nation’s fuel supply and the associated risk of price increases in electricity,
natural gas, and other utilities purchased by the university. We feel that these
actions are our duty, not only as responsible citizens, but as a university that is
focused on access and opportunity.
As stewards of California’s largest gateway to higher education, we have worked
diligently to keep the CSU true to its mission and the quality of our services high.
We identify and confront challenges—old and new—each year, without
losing sight of the university’s prominence as the leading educator for baccalaureate
and master’s instruction in California.
Ours is an endeavor that embodies all of the qualities that enable citizens to
prosper, economies to grow, and societies to flourish. Our universities open doors,
remove barriers, and nurture potential. Our work is both a public service and a
With the budget plan proposed for 2006/07, the CSU will continue to be one of the
best in the business of higher education and a home for all students seeking to
acquire the skills to live productively and contribute greatly. Through our ongoing
partnerships and outreach efforts, we will continue to do everything in our power
to preserve this precious resource for California and its future generations of students.