Responses to Chancellor's Communication-October 3, 2000
Here are the most frequently asked questions and my responses:
1. Can you provide more details on the Cal Grant program?
The historic expansion of the Cal Grant program, signed by Governor Davis last month, created Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards and Competitive Cal Grant A and B Awards.
Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards
Beginning with the 2001-2002 academic year, graduating high school seniors and community college transfer students who meet the following requirements will be assured of Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards.
Competitive Cal Grant A and B Awards
The Competitive Cal Grant A and B award programs will provide 22,500 grants on a competitive basis to those who do not qualify for an entitlement such as continuing college students and older adult and re-entry students. Students must compete for these awards; they are not guaranteed.
Students must apply for a Cal Grant by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2, 2001. They also must have their school provide verification of their GPA to the Student Aid Commission by March 2, 2001.
Since this is a new program, many details have yet to be finalized. For the latest updates, as well as additional information about eligibility requirements and application processes, visit the California Student Aid Commission Web site at www.csac.ca.gov.
2. You mentioned that $5 million of the lottery funding would go to "faculty professional development." What about staff development?
The CSU places a high priority on professional development for both faculty and staff. We offer many faculty and staff professional development opportunities through the campuses and at the system level. Earlier this year, the CSU system hired a full-time professional development coordinator to seek out and manage CSU employee training and development opportunities.
This one-time allocation of $5 million, however, is specifically aimed at professional development for the faculty. It is intended to supplement our many existing programs and opportunities.
3. Why does the CSU continue to support merit pay?
It has been the policy of the CSU Trustees for several years that merit pay should be one instrument to reward outstanding faculty performance. The CFA contract has included a merit pay program since 1995.
The current merit pay program was agreed to by the California Faculty Association (CFA) as part of their current contract, which does not expire until June 2001.
While the CSU has a strong commitment to the principle of merit pay, the CSU recognizes that the process used last year could be improved. The CSU hopes to work with the faculty to agree on an improved process that addresses faculty concerns and involves a strong merit program as envisioned at the time the 1999 agreement was signed.
4. I heard that the CSU hasn't spent all of the money it has received for faculty salaries over the past five years. Is this accurate?
Every faculty member who is eligible to receive salary increases receives those increases in accordance with the negotiated contract.
Like other state agencies, however, the CSU does not expend all budgeted salary dollars in any given year. One-time funds become available because not every position is filled on every day of each year and because salary increases are paid only to employees, not to vacant positions. For example, if a faculty member leaves a campus, compensation that would have been paid to that faculty member accrues until a replacement is hired.
One-time funds can also become available as a result of the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP). This program allows faculty who retire to teach half time and receive 50 percent of their salary for a set number of years. During those years, one-time funds are available because only half that faculty member's salary is paid out.
The amount of salary savings varies from year to year and from campus to campus. One-time funding cannot be used for ongoing expenses such as additional faculty salary increases. When one-time funds become available, they stay with campus budgets in that particular year.
All state agencies use similar budgeting practices and experience periods in which positions are vacant. As a standard university practice - not something unique to the CSU - these salary savings are used for instructional and student service matters such as:
5. Why does the CSU offer fee waivers for dependents of faculty and not for dependents of staff?
The fee waiver for faculty was negotiated as a part of collective bargaining in 1993. All staff unions have expressed strong interest in the issue of a staff fee waiver in their respective contracts. We are examining the cost analysis and will continue to discuss this issue with the representative groups.