CSU Budget Office

Frequently Asked Questions: Other

Auxiliary Organizations

How will these short falls impact auxiliary organizations and/or the operating agreements?
Strategies used to align with the university with state suport and impact auxiliary revenues. Fewer students and employees, or reduced operating hours at the campus impact some of the auxiliaries by reducing their customer base. We have encouraged the AOA to look into functions that they could take on to assist the university during this difficult time.


If president's homes can't fall into disrepair, why are so many University buildings that serve the core mission allowed to crumble?
The University has a backlog of $1.6 billion in deferred maintenance. During times of fiscal stress, maintenance on facilities is often the first thing to go so that limited funds can be used for higher priority activities in the institution. The homes of campus presidents have suffered from lack of maintenance as well. During the transition period between campus presidents is often the only time deferred maintenance can be done on those residences. The large number of new presidents coming into the CSU resulted in deferred maintenance being done on several residences at the same time.

Can students be offered externships to improve on landscaping, maintenance, and catering services to help with expenses at presidential homes?
Currently the upkeep at presidential homes is done by employees who are represented by labor unions, so moving that work to students is not an easy answer to save money.

Can we utilize our campus internet infrastructure and branch out to sell internet  service access to the surrounding community?
The CSU contracts for commodity Internet access services as part of a California educational consortium that receives discounted Internet service rates only so long as we are using the service to meet our educational mission. Reselling of Internet services would likely be interpreted as falling outside of the CSU' mission, and put us into direct competition with commercial carriers. Even if we elected to get into the business in a way that was not inappropriately subsidized, offering Internet service to our neighbors would require a significant investment in equipment and staff to support a greatly expanded customer base. This would require an upfront investment that would be in the many millions of dollars.

Have we thought of charging centers and institutes on campuses rent?
Charging rent is a campus-by-campus decision. For those institutes that appear to have the means to support other things, consideration is being given to how they can support the balance of the institution.

Can the CSU benefit from a focused effort to sell naming rights on facilities, rather than the ad hoc process handled campus by campus?
Thank you for the suggestion. The Vice Presidents for Advancement will discuss this idea and consider the resources needed.

Can construction projects be better planned to avoid re-work? Who monitors the budget and campus performance?
Efforts are made by campuses to coordinate and plan repairs, renovations and improvements to best utilize available funds. As capital funding is not assured for renovations or new construction, a campus has to make judgements on completing repairs while awaiting the capital funding- which may cause some re-work. Most campuses are delgated authority for design and construction with the Chancellor's Office selecting projects to audit on a random basis. State funded projects are reported on quarterly to the state. The campus facilites staff can address project specifics.

What funds are used to convert small classrooms to large classrooms?
Historically, voter approved General Obligation bond funds have been used to fund building renovations and new construction to increase the number of large classrooms. A bond initiative has not been approved by the voters since 2006 and another may be difficult to bring forward to the voters soon given the state's debt levels. Legislative approval is needed to use Lease Revenue Bond funds for new construction.

Revamp the system whereby charges are made to departments by Physical Plant.  For example, it should not cost $500 to change a single lock, or $3,000 to paint a room, but those are the costs that departments are charged by Physical Plant.
Campuses are required to annually approve and implement the cost allocation plan for direct and indirect costs.

Function Modification

Consider reducing or eliminating certain functions/activities that are not part of the core instructional program, e.g., athletic programs or student services.
A few campsues are considering the reduction of some athletic programs. Decisions to reduce or eliminate activities that support the instructional program, such as student services, are a campus decision and would be driven by the student population and circumstances at that campus. Some campuses may be considering reductions in some of those non-instructional programs, however, care will be taken to ensure students continue to get the services they need.


Are faculty able to contribute input to the budget decision making process?
Currently the CSU uses the Statewide Budget Advising Committee (SBAC) with input from the Academic Senate.

At the May Trustee meeting, several trustees called for public hearings on these budget options. In the last webcast, faculty and staff unions called for the same thing. Why has CSU management not acted on these requests? This would allow Californians to consider other ideas.
The webcasts held on May 23 and June 11 were public forums that invited all members of the university community to participate in the conversation about the various budget strategies. This allowed interested parties to join in the conversation without the cost of travel, and we believe allowed for a greater level of participation in the dialogue. There was a brief window of time between the May Trustee meeting and the deadline for publication of the July Trustee agenda, compounded by graduation ceremonies at semester campuses and finals at quarter campuses, that made webcasts the best option for public forums. Questions/comments submitted during the webcasts or submitted to the "Budget Strategies" email have been put into an FAQ, which is posted online.

Is there a way to involve local campus faculty more in systemwide decisions?
Steps are being taken to find ways to engage local faculty on questions facing the institution as a whole.

What about closing the Chancellor's Office as a separate entity and moving it to a shared campus location?
Payroll and benefits for the chancellor's office has been moved to a campus in a shared service approach. Many of the functions that occur in the chancellor's office are not replicated on campuses, for example academic program review, system budget development and securing of funds and CMS helpdesk. There would be increased costs at any campus that were to take over these operations.

I suggest that each CSU follow the example of the University of Maryland when it had to make a major budget cut. A representative faculty committee was appointed to recommend budget cuts. Another representative faculty committee was appointed to react to the recommended budget cuts.
The idea could be considered. Currently the CSU uses the Statewide Budget Advising Committee (SBAC) with input from the Academic Senate.

Management Employees

What about MPP employees?
Since fall 2008, the number of MPPs has decreased by about 6% system-wide, and campuses will continue to review their operations for opportunities to reduce costs. The last general merit pay program for MPPs was five years ago, so most MPPs have not had any pay increases since then unless they were promoted or received a new assignment.

Could CSU convert all Executive and Managers to 10 month contracts like faculty?
This topic has not been discussed to date. Campuses are looking at all possible opportunities for efficiency and in some cases, in areas where the university has reduced activities in the summer, 10/12 or 11/12 appointments might be appropriate. However, many university operations continue year-round, so this is unlikely to be a viable across-the-board approach.

Reductions in overall faculty numbers have increased student-faculty-ratio, while relying on more lecturers increases workload and committee work and student advising for T/TT faculty.  Why not increase MPP workload by reducing the number of MPPs, or cut their pay back to what it was 5 years ago?
Since fall 2008, the number of MPPs has decreased by about 6% system-wide, and campuses will continue to review their operations for opportunities to reduce costs. The last general merit pay program for MPPs was five years ago, so most MPPs have not had any pay increases since then unless they were promoted or received a new assignment.

Crunching salary numbers reveals that the CSU could save about $80 million per year if all Executive and Managers were converted to 10 month contracts like faculty. How much summer work one wanted to do for free would be a choice. Have you given any thought to this idea?
This topic has not been discussed to date. Campuses are looking at all possible opportunities for efficiency and in some cases, in areas where the university has reduced activities in the summer, 10/12 or 11/12 appointments might be appropriate. However, many university operations continue year-round, so this is unlikely to be a viable across-the-board approach.

If it is true that administrative positions have grown significantly during the past 20 years, should there be a review of what administrative functions are essential in our current administration?
Campuses and the Chancellor’s Office are reviewing all areas of operation for greater efficiency, including administration. In the last several years, the CSU has reduced the number of management employees significantly; the number employees classified as part of the Management Personnel Plan (MPP) declined by about 6% from fall 2008 to fall 2011. Over the past ten years (from fall 2001 to fall 2011), the number of MPP positions has grown by about 8.6%. However, contrary to some perceptions, the number of senior administrators (individuals including Deans, Directors, Vice Presidents, Presidents, etc.) has increased by only 2.2% over the last ten years.


Many campuses have art hanging on the walls, can these be sold and replaced with less expensive posters or student work?
Many campuses feature art work by faculty and students already. That is certainly true at the chancellor's office facility. Additionally, much of the art is donated to the institution and selling that art would not be looked favorably upon by the donors. Finally, valuable art is calculated into our assets and reported in the consolidated financial statements, so it would not be wise, in many cases, to see the art.


What is the timeline for moving ideas "on the table" to implementation? When exactly will decisions be made?
Decisions on specific strategies and the timing of implementation will be made by the Board, with advice from the senior executives including the campus presidents.

Why wait until November to implement savings measures rather than July 1?
Many savings measures have already been put in place, such as hiring freezes, reductions in payroll costs, reductions in enrollment and restrictions on purchases and travel. In addition, campuses are building budgets for 12-13 that anticipate operating with less revenue.

We need to engage industry/industry leaders, especially those who benefit from the workforce prepared by CSU, to invest in the CSU system to a greater degree than they do now.

The CSU formed advisory groups with leaders in the industries in which the university provides the greatest number of graduates in 2004. Today, the CSU has active partnerships with leaders in agriculture, hospitality and tourism, entertainment and engineering. The CSU convenes these groups regularly and works with them on budget advocacy, local legislative efforts, degree programs and internships, visiting fellows programs, and curriculum. Many of the key leaders meet with state and community lawmakers to advocate for long-term investments in higher education tying that investment to growing the state’s future workforce and economy. In addition, there have been several positive outcomes such as a robust internship program and a visiting fellow program for media studies students,  collaborations among the CSU’s hospitality programs, and increased federal support for the CSU’s agricultural research programs. The CSU will continue to engage these groups in efforts to support is priorities.

To what extent have entire campus closures been addressed? And, what net can be brought to the CSU as a whole?
Closing an entire campus would save money in the long run, but it would be a very long and disruptive process to accomplish. CSU campuses are located throughout the state in order to fulfill our mission, and closing one runs contrary to that mission. This strategy is not being considered at this time.

What efforts have been made to reduce travel?
Most systemwide groups have reduced the number of in-person meetings and use some form of technology to have discussions. We have asked various groups to eliminate annual conferences or find ways to significantly reduce costs associated with conferences and travel.

Are campus budget plans to address the $250 million Trigger cut going to be made public?
Yes. Campuses have developed plans based on the reduction of $250 million in General Fund support. These adjustments will be reflected across programs areas and will be publicly noticed in CSU Final Budget Summaries posted on the Budget Office web page.

What about the ability to use our cash reserves?
A certain level of cash is needed for unexpected and emergent situations. Cash ratios are also necessary to maintain the University's credit rating. However, a certain amount of one-time funds will be used to address the budget cuts.

Proposition Support

Have we communicated the impact of Proposition 30?
The CSU has used every opportunity to make sure elected officials and the general public understand the implications of yet another cut for students, faculty, staff and the state overall. As the board considers the final budget signed by Governor Brown more specific information on how can best manage this ongoing disinvestment will be public and part of the deliberations both the July and likely September board meetings. We will do our best to share these options within the university and continue to seek ideas and suggestions from others through the dedicated email and website.

The CSU is in a volatile position—we don't know if  the Governor's revenue initiative will pass, the Chancellor just announced his retirement and leadership is changing on many campuses.  Why don't we focus on winning the revenue initiative and hiring a new chancellor instead of having this conversation during a transition period and making decisions that would adversely impact a generation of students?
The magnitude of the potential cut and other uncertainties require long-range planning.

What steps are we taking to ensure that the tax measure on the November ballot is approved?
Assuming the measure qualifies for the November ballot, in July the Trustees will consider taking a position on the proposition. Once that is done the CSU can educate and inform our constituency groups and those who support the CSU about the impact of failure of the proposition. We are prohibited from direct campaigning, but can encourage those who support the university to spend funds to ensure passage.

Are communication plans being developed in light of the November election and its impact to the CSU?
CSU has several systems that communicate with supporters about important matters including budget issues. Over 600,000 people received regular communications through the campuses. We have been and will continue to use this tool as well as many others at the system and campus level to education and inform the public and voters of the severe consequences if the initiative fails. While we are prohibited by law to use state resources of any sort to campaign, we can and will be active to make sure voters, general public, alumni, students, faculty, parents, business and community leaders, the media and others about what this all means for CSU and higher education. We have been successful in this regard in the past when we have worked on other state initiatives and know that coming together we can make a difference.

If the state of California has to cut costs, what other programs are financially being cut off or unsupported  besides the CSU's?
The Governor and legislature have reduced budgets of numerous state agencies.