CSU budget slashed again

by Alejandra Paz

Budget cuts

On Dec. 13, Gov. Jerry Brown announced an additional $100 million for the 2011-2012 year to be cut from the California State University budget. State funding support was already reduced in May by $650 million.

This $750 million seems to be a permanent cut according to the budget proposal for the 2012-2013 year.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom responded to the additional $100 million cuts.

“What we have feared for months is now our reality — and unless we come together to find new resources for K-12 and higher education, we are going to surrender the current and future generations and dismantle a once-proud public education system that can no longer meet the demands of a growing economy,” Newsom said.

The $2.14 billion in state support funds to the CSU is the lowest it has been in the past 15 years. The CSU is receiving less state funding and serving more students.

Employee layoffs, furloughs, decreased enrollment and cutting university programs have been the steps the CSU system has taken in recent years because of deflated state funding. Next year, the CSU system may have to increase tuition again. With a $750 million cut, tuition increases only increased about $300 million, which is still not enough.

Nursing junior Melanie Martinez said she was infuriated by the news Gov. Brown released.

“How are we supposed to make our futures better if we keep paying more and more for an education but receive almost nothing in aid?” Martinez said. “How does Governor Brown expect the students to react?”

For the past decade, the average net tuition has increased annually for students while state funds have fluctuated in decline. For example, for the 1998-1999 year, state funds per student were $10,930 and the average net tuition per student was $2,572. For the 2011-2012 year, state funds per student are $6,459 and the average net tuition per student is $5,517. Tuition has more than doubled since 1998.

Additionally, state appropriations in 1998-1999 year were $2.16 billion and there were 273,928 full-time equivalent students. For the 2011-2012 year, the CSU Allocation is $2.14 billion and there are 331,716 students. For the past decade, as enrollment increased in the CSU system, state support has declined.

The CSU took action and reduced enrollment by 10,000 students while still increasing tuition. The CSU system will continue to increase tuition and fees if state funding is decreasing the budget to maintain a quality education experience. In addition, the Chancellor’s Office reduced its funding by 14 percent.

Annually, approximately 75 percent of the spending done by the CSU system directly supports students; 42 percent goes to faculty salaries and instruction, 11 percent goes to academic support, 10.9 percent goes to student grants and scholarships, and 10.8 percent goes to student services. The rest of CSU spending goes to institutional support, physical plant and public service.

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said California needs to make public universities a priority again.

“Our campuses have done everything they can just to get through this fiscal year with a $750 million budget cut,” Reed said. “We have only survived by implementing numerous cost cutting measures, being extremely prudent with resources and spending down one-time reserves. However, we are just about out of options, and if the state does not begin to reinvest in the CSU, we will need to take more drastic measures including cutting enrollment and programs, raising tuition and reducing personnel.”