Mildred García named 11th chancellor of California State University

As the first Latina to oversee the system, García will take on her new position with a $1.5 billion budget shortfall and a potential 6% tuition increase
Mildred García is now the 11th chancellor of the California State University system
Mildred García is now the 11th chancellor of the California State University system
Courtesy of California State University

The California State University Board of Trustees has appointed Mildred García as its 11th chancellor, overseeing the nation’s largest four-year university system.

García will succeed Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester, who has been leading the system since May 2022. This transition follows the resignation of former Chancellor Joseph I. Castro, who stepped down amid allegations of mishandling sexual harassment complaints against an administrator during his presidency at Fresno State University in February.

As the first Latina chancellor in the CSU’s 62-year history, García is tasked with a system confronting a massive budget shortfall of more than $1 billion and a proposed tuition hike.

Since 2018, García has served as the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She also previously served as the president of both CSU Fullerton and Dominguez Hills. 

“I am honored, humbled and excited for this opportunity to serve the nation’s largest four-year university system and work alongside its dedicated leaders, faculty and staff, and its talented and diverse students to further student achievement, close equity gaps and continue to drive California’s economic prosperity,” García said in response to being appointed as the next CSU chancellor.

According to a May finance report prepared for the interim chancellor, the CSU system faces a 15% funding gap between its revenue and operating costs — a shortfall of roughly $1.5 billion. 

In an effort to bridge the funding gap, trustees of the CSU board are considering an annual 6% tuition hike for full-time undergraduate students for at least five years. The proposed increase would raise tuition from $5,742 to $6,084 in the initial year. By the 2028-2029 academic year, it will increase to $7,682.

According to an interview with the Los Angeles Times, García commented on the Cal State financial challenges, saying she has yet to be fully briefed on the subject. 

“Look, CSU and all regional comprehensives in this country have a budget problem,” García said. “I know there are issues. But so is every regional comprehensive institution in this country. The question is: how do we manage it?”

In light of the institution’s economic condition, a few CSU trustees expressed concerns about García’s compensation package — an annual salary of $795,000, $80,000 in annual deferred compensation, an $8,000 monthly housing allowance and a $1,000 monthly auto allowance. 

“This is close to double what the chancellor was making four years ago,” said Trustee Douglas Faigin, who voted against García’s salary. “Faculty and staff are hearing that we want to treat them as fairly as we can, but at the same time, the cupboard is bare. Looking at these numbers, is this a good message?”

García’s tenure is set to commence on Oct. 1 and the attention will be focused on her as she guides the CSU system through a period of financial uncertainty.

About the Contributor
Hannah Ly, News Editor