Departments on campus are looking for ways to decrease their operational costs to prepare for a shortfall in state funding, which could range from $12 to $22 million during the 2008-09 academic year.
Academic Affairs has put aside a one-time lump sum of $5 million dollars to combat the impending budgetary shortfall.?Harry?Hellenbrand, vice president of academic affairs, sent a plan to the heads of department throughout the campus to trim their budgets in the hopes of collecting an additional $3 million.
The CSUN Genetic Counseling Program does not have money left to trim from its budget, and the program may close its doors during the 2009-10 academic year if it does not procure more funding, said Aida Metzenberg, who directs the program.
Genetic Counseling graduates are trained to act as liaisons between medical doctors and family members who suffer from genetic diseases.?
“This career is hot right now,” Metzenberg said. “Our students often receive job offers before they graduate. Most of them are now working in places like Cedars-Sinai, UCLA Medical Center and Kaiser.”??
Budgetary constraints are difficult for 50 percent of the program’s students who passed their graduation exam.
“That happened only one year, but this year 100 percent of our students have passed,” Metzenberg said. “It is a difficult exam that includes the study of genetics and psychology. We’ve found better ways to help our students with the material.”??
“The program and career opportunities are great now, but we can’t get funding,” Metzenberg said.?”It’s a little too late.”?
The CSUN Genetic Counseling program?requires about $90,000 to maintain its operations each academic year. Without additional university funding, a remaining nine students will be the last to graduate from the program.
Impending CSU budget cuts have also?resulted in a hiring freeze during 2009 and 2010, Hellenbrand said.
Thirty-one people were recently offered teaching jobs to?fill open positions,?26 of which have accepted. Five are still pending.
The Department of Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Development has moreover agreed to reduce the number of hours their part-time instructors are allowed to teach to save costs.?
“Our faculty responded positively to this new student-faculty ratio, even though it means more work for them,” Finney said.
The department will also reduce the number of courses offered and increase the number of students in the remaining classes.?A?typical class of 20 students would increase to approximately 40 students. All other CSU campuses closed freshman enrollment for the first time on March 1.??
“We are looking for ways to save costs and provide good quality education at the same time,” Finney said. “There will be no cuts to enrollment this semester unless they are requested by the provost.”??
Hellenbrand said shortening the enrollment period only accounted for approximately 2 percent of the savings needed.?
While departments on campus look for ways to cut their operational costs,?the 2008-09 university budget remains at a standstill until is it approved sometime between now and in December, Hellenbrand said.
“We don’t know what he (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) will approve,” Hellenbrand said.?”All I can say is that the budget is not going to be in the black. We will have a shortfall.”
?Hellenbrand said he continues to juggle the numbers using the best-case scenarios.
?”We’re like a little boat on big wide-open ocean. We don’t know which port we’ll hit yet,” Hellenbrand said. “Right now, we just want to get across the ocean.”???