CSU creates plan for proposed budget

by Hannah Beausang

The California State University Board of Trustees devised a plan to maximize effectiveness for the proposed budget increase.

During last Tuesday’s meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees discussed how to allocate the $125 million dollar increase in funding proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown for the 2013-14 fiscal year. The prospective plan hones in on three areas for strategic improvement: student access and success, compensation for faculty and staff and mandatory costs.

CSU Media Relations Specialist Erik Fallis said the plan was developed by consulting CSU students and faculty to pinpoint their most vital needs. The additional support will increase the state educational funding to $2.3 billion dollars—a turnaround from recent funding cutbacks, which have caused an approximate $1 billion downturn in annual support within the past five years.

According to Brown’s proposal, the CSU system will not see any tuition increases in the 2013-14 academic year.  Additionally, a $21.7 million increase in funding will be used to increase enrollment by 6,000 students across the system.

The budget will also allocate $10 million to provide online strategies to help students complete “bottleneck” courses—classes that are often repeated. When students continuously retake a course it creates gridlock and limits the class availability.

Through the use of technology, the CSU system hopes to improve course scheduling and increase the availability of student advising.  The funding will also designate $7.2 million to try and reduce the time needed to obtain a degree, close the achievement gap and increase graduation rates.

“We’re really looking toward our campuses—our faculty and administration staff on the campus—to be innovators and think of creative ways that they can help students,” Fallis said. “We’re already a national leader on the edge of technology when it comes to the classroom and non-classroom activities, like advising and creating connections among students.”

An additional $38 million of the proposed budget will address the needs of faculty and staff and $48.2 million will be used for mandatory increases, such as energy costs, employee health benefits and the operation and maintenance of new space.

Fallis said that although the increase in funding will benefit the CSU system, there’s still vast room for improvement.

“Over the year we’re going to look at ways we can prioritize our resources in a way that best serves our students, knowing that we’re not going to achieve everything we would want to,” Fallis said.

Brown will issue a revised budget in May. The legislature is expected to approve the budget by June 15, prior to the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.