CSU Plans for Budget Cuts, Fee Hikes, and Enrollment Caps

The near certainty that the California State University system will have to absorb additional cuts of at least $330.2 million in its 2003-04 fiscal year means that the system will have to implement a $474 annual increase in the state university fee for undergraduate students, slow student growth and leave positions open.

Given the state’s continuing budget crisis, the CSU had prepared for a 10 percent cut of $260.7 million to its $2.6 billion state budget. However, recent legislative actions point to a near certain additional cut of $69.5 million with the possibility of it reaching $200 million.

“This is a serious budget reduction that will have significant consequences for the California State University,” said Richard West, executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer. “Managing cuts of this magnitude will require leaving positions open, turning away thousands of students who wish to enroll, and raising fees at rates even higher than what was proposed by Governor Davis in January.”

CSU is doing its best to protect current and future students by making cuts in all other possible areas before reaching classroom instruction and student services.

In anticipation of a budget cut at the $330.2 level, Chancellor Charles B. Reed has asked CSU presidents to review current enrollment scenarios and to prepare contingency plans for implementing a 2 percent reduction in enrollment —about 8,000 students.

Methods to cut enrollment include not accepting applications for spring 2004 at semester campuses and not accepting applications for winter 2004 at quarter campuses. Because campuses have already admitted students who began applying for admission to CSU on October 1, 2002, for the fall 2003 term, restricting or closing admission for the fall 2003 term is not an option.

The CSU Board of Trustees was prepared to vote on a 25 percent fee increase at its regular meeting in May, but the action was postponed because it seemed almost certain that the university system would take even deeper cuts than initially proposed by the governor in January. As a result, the CSU Board of Trustees will consider a 30 percent fee hike for undergraduate and graduate students at its July 16 meeting.

“My heart goes out to the students, many of whom have family responsibilities and work long hours besides attending classes,” said Chancellor Reed. “It is unfortunate they have to share the pain many Californians will be enduring as a result of the state’s budget crisis. However, maintaining quality is a priority, and fee increases are necessary to keep educational quality at the CSU.”

If the student fee increase is approved, annual undergraduate full-time student fees will increase $474 to $2,046, and annual graduate full-time student fees will increase $522 to $2,256. Even after this fee increase, CSU fees will continue to be the lowest among comparable public universities in the nation.

Along with the fee increase and enrollment reductions, the CSU would need to reduce 2,300 vacant or frozen full-time positions. Such faculty positions are forecast to be reduced by 3.9 percent while other employee positions will experience reductions of up to 11 percent. The university will eliminate these vacant or frozen positions before existing positions.

The university has implemented restrictions on travel and purchases to protect employees and students as much as possible. The Chancellor’s Office has implemented a $4.5 million budget reduction that includes the elimination and freezing of approximately 40 positions.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 408,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.

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Last Updated: 11 July 2003

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