Public Affairs

CSU Tells Legislative Budget Committee Further Budget Cuts Would be Devastating

April 14, 2011

At a hearing today of the state Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget Robert Turnage outlined the potential ramifications if the CSU budget was cut beyond the already approved $500 million for 2011-2012.  The Committee was convened to explore the implications of an all-cuts state budget for K-12 and higher education, and heard testimony from education and a panel of business leaders.

Turnage told the elected officials that a $1 billion cut would bring state funding for the CSU back to 1996 levels, but the system has about 100,000 more students.  In addition, if the CSU was forced to raise tuition beyond the already approved amount for fall 2011, for the first time students may be paying more than the state contribution for their education.  Student to faculty ratios have continued to climb, said Turnage, but the biggest problem is the lack of certainty on when a final budget will be approved and what the final state support will be.

"Timing and uncertainty are paralyzing our ability to plan for this coming year," said Turnage.  "We can't wait for the ultimate budget fate to make decisions.  We have already made our enrollment decisions for the fall and dropped enrollment by 2.4%.  Our only option to affect enrollment for next year would be to completely shut down transfers for the winter and spring."

While CSU remains one of the most efficient university systems in the country (ten of the top 20 colleges with the lowest spending per student are CSU campuses), Turnage said an additional cut of $500 million would be devastating to the system.  Unless increased state revenues become part of the solution to address the state's $26 billion deficit, the budget cut to the CSU could approach $1 billion – more than 35% of the total funding the system currently receives from the state.

A copy of the presentation given to the committee is here.