Gov. Newsom proposes 10% CSU budget cut in light of pandemic’s economic toll


Screenshot from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s livestream on Thursday.

Samantha Bravo, Assistant Campus Editor

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a 10% reduction in funding to the California State University and University of California systems in his May revision of the state’s budget. Newsom revised California’s budget to $203 billion as the state reels from the coronavirus’s economic impact. He had originally proposed a $222 billion budget in January.

The cuts to CSU and the UC are an effort to preserve programs and investments toward pandemic recovery, according to Newsom.

According to the budget summary, the May revisions reflect the state’s need to accommodate more students while resources are constrained. The 10% reduction to the CSU’s budget amounts to a decrease of $398 million to its ongoing general fund.

“In implementing this reduction, the Administration expects the CSU to minimize the impact to programs and services serving underrepresented students and student access to the CSU,” the governor’s budget summary states.

The new budget also shows a decrease of $6 million limited-term general fund for summer financial aid.

With approximately 410,000 undergraduate students, the 23 CSU campuses receive funding from a variety of sources, including state general fund, federal funds, lottery funds and student tuition and fees.

Newsom’s revision also withdraws CSU funding increases from January’s budget proposal. This includes a $199 million ongoing general fund proposal to support a 5% increase in resources, as well as a one-time $6 million general fund to support degree and certificate completion programs.

“The state is not in a fiscal position to expand programs given the drastic budget impacts of the COVID-19 recession … The reductions are necessary to balance the state budget,” the document states.
The cuts are intended to safeguard student financial aid programs like CalGrant, California’s financial aid program, according to Newsom.

“We do not yet know the full extent of the budgetary impact to CSUN, but we know it will be significant,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison wrote in an email to campus.

Harrison also said that CSUN would continue to implement its current saving measures which included limiting new hires, restricting non-essential purchases and defereing facility renewal projects.

“While the fiscal outlook set forth in Governor Newsom’s May Budget Revision is not unexpected, it is indeed daunting and portends challenging times across California State University and the entire state,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said in a statement. “For years, the university has prepared diligently and prudently for an economic downturn, and those actions have helped us weather the initial phases of this storm, as campuses continue to serve students despite the many challenges posed by COVID-19.”