A Summary of the May 10-11, 2005, Board of Trustees Meeting

Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu, 562-951-4800

CSU Student Debt Lower than National Average

The average cumulative debt of California State University undergraduate students when receiving a baccalaureate degree is $13,368, which is lower than the national average for students graduating from public four-year universities, according to a report heard this week by the CSU Board of Trustees. Average borrowing at the national level is $16,400.

The report also showed that CSU students receive more financial aid in the form of grants than loans. Fifty-three percent of CSU students receive grants and 46 percent receive loans. The CSU relation of loans to grants also compares favorably to national trends, which show a reversed proportion. According to the report, the percentage of CSU students receiving loans is lower because student fees have remained low compared to national trends. In addition, each time there is a fee increase, CSU State University Grants as well as Cal Grants increase, effectively covering the fee increase for students with financial need.

Once they graduate, CSU students are managing debt well. The standard repayment plan for a student loan of $13,368 extends for 10 years, with monthly payments of $164.18, and requires an annual income of $24,627. These payments represent a low debt burden for CSU graduates when considering that census data shows that a person between 24 and 34 years of age with a bachelor’s degree has a median income of $37,440.

Other data suggest even higher salaries for college graduates. According to USA Today, high school graduates earned an average of $27,915 in 2004, while students who received bachelor’s degrees earned $51,206.

Trustee Melinda Guzman Moore said that to graduate from college with a $13,368 loan is a very good deal.

Trustees were told that CSU counselors, lenders, and guarantee agencies are constantly providing information to students to increase borrowers’ awareness about loans, debt management, and loan repayment.

“Our students get debt management counseling when they start college, every time there is a loan disbursement and when they are about to graduate,” said Allison Jones, assistant vice chancellor for student academic support. Borrower education, he said, helps to increase borrowers’ understanding of the debt burdens and responsibilities they are assuming. Borrowers must begin repaying federal student loans six to nine months after leaving school.

Trustee Moctesuma Esparza said it was good to hear that students are getting frequent counseling about loans and debt management.

In addition, CSUMentor, CSU’s online application and college planning tool, provides a loan calculator that facilitates students’ understanding of monthly loan payments based on anticipated income after graduation. Some CSU campuses have individual programs of borrower education, debt management, and default prevention.

According to the report, student loan defaults, once a common problem, have reached an all-time low. Default rates for CSU students in FY2002, the latest available, was 3.1 percent, compared to 5.0 for California and 5.2 percent nationally.

Presidents Named

Trustees appointed Don Kassing, currently interim president and former CFO, as president at San José State University, and Diane Cordero de Noriega, campus provost, as interim president at CSU Monterey Bay. (See here for details.)

Helping Students Progress to a Degree

Trustees approved proposals to improve the graduation rates of CSU students. The proposals came from a Trustee initiative launched in 2002. The initiative has three parts: improving preparation to begin college, strengthening the transfer process, and helping enrolled students progress toward their baccalaureate degree.

The first two elements were addressed through the Early Assessment Program, which helps would-be college students identify their areas of academic weakness, and the Lower-Division Transfer Project, which seeks to streamline the transfer process.

The final section, improving CSU student graduation rates, is campus-based. It includes the development of roadmaps, coordinated class schedules, progress-to-degree audits, improved university catalogs, and more effective use of summer terms. A study of these campus efforts has resulted in a refocused effort which includes reducing the units required for the baccalaureate, assisting lower-division students to clarify life and career goals, providing more useful class schedules, and reviewing campus policies on course repetition.

Proposed Schedule of Meetings for 2006

Trustees will meet at the Headquarters office in Long Beach on the following 2006 schedule: January 31-Feb. 1, March 14-15, May 12-17, July 18-19, Sept. 19-20, Oct. 26, Nov. 14-15.

Chair and Vice Chair Named

The Trustees voted to continue the terms of Chair Murray Galinson and Vice Chair Roberta Achtenberg for a second year.

The Trustees Also Approved:

  • Approving 2005/2006 Legislative Report No. 3.
  • Amending the 2004/2005 Capital Outlay Program, Nonstate Funded, to include the Cal Poly Pomona Innovation Village, Phase III project, that would provide a 120,000 square-foot commercial office and research space, and the Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert Off-Campus Center, Phase III project, that would construct a third building to provide space for healthcare, information resources and library functions.
  • The Draft State and Nonstate Funded Five-Year Capital Improvement Program 2006/2007 through 2010/2011.
  • Certifying the Final Supplemental EIR, approve the Campus Master Plan Revision, and amend the Nonstate Funded Capital Outlay Program for CSU Dominguez Hills’ Home Depot Center, Phase II, that would develop a conference center, including a 200-room hotel, an athletics training center, a field house/training center, and a 240-bed athletic residential facility.
  • Approving schematic plans for the Cal State Bakersfield Math and Computer Science Building, the Cal State Long Beach Peterson Hall 3 Replacement Building, the Cal State L.A. Student Union Replacement, the CSU Monterey Bay Cogeneration Plant and Infrastructure Improvements, the Cal State San Bernardino College of Education, the San Diego State Pool Complex, and the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Housing Administration Building.
  • Approving issuance of CSU systemwide revenue bonds and related debt instruments for a parking structure at Cal State Long Beach, a parking structure at Sacramento State, the student union replacement at Cal State L.A., and a housing project at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
  • Approving a real property development project at Cal Poly Pomona for commercial office and research facility as part of Innovation Village, Phase III.
  • Approving a real property development project at CSU Dominguez Hills for a hotel/conference center, athletic training center/office, and dormitories.
  • Approving the naming of a landscaped lawn at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo the Richard J. O’Neill Green in recognition of the support of alumnus Richard J. O’Neill.
  • Approving the naming of Business Building 13 at Cal State San Marcos as Markstein Hall in recognition of a $5 million pledge by Kenneth and Carole Markstein in support of the College of Business Administration.
  • Approving a resolution commending Manny and Neda Mashouf for their support of San Francisco State, which includes a $10 million pledge toward the construction of a new arts building.
  • Approving a revision of Title 5—Bases of Prohibited Discrimination for Recognized Student Groups.
  • Conferring emeritus status upon departing CSU Stanislaus President Marvalene Hughes, CSU Monterey Bay President Peter Smith and CSU Executive Vice Chancellor David S. Spence.
  • Appointing Faculty Trustee Kathleen Kaiser as the representative to the California Postsecondary Education Commission.
  • New committee assignments for 2005-06.

The Trustees Heard:

  • A status report on the 2005/2006 State Funded Capital Outlay Program.
  • A report on the 2005/2006 Support Budget.
  • A status report on current and follow-up Internal Audit assignments.
  • A report on a partnership with Just for the Kids-California to improve the quality of K-12 education in the state.


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Last Updated: May 13, 2005

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