Associated Students discuss budget and enrollment concerns with new associate vice president


Rodrigo Hernandez

The Grand Salon at the University Student Union located on the CSUN campus, in Northridge Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. Here the CSUN Associated Students held their second meeting for spring 2023 on Jan. 30.

Michael Smithlin, Contributor

Lower enrollment rates and budget concerns were the main focus at the second CSUN Associated Students meeting for spring 2023.
The subjects were explained in a presentation by Shefali Mistry, the new associate vice president of government and community relations.
“The budget is going to be the hardest thing this year and the other related to the budget is the national decline in enrollment, which is hitting the CSU really hard,” Mistry said. “All of the universities are starting to think, ‘How do we market our universities so that students come?’ And we’ve never had to do that.”
When asked about the issues CSUN and other California State Universities are facing, including a significant reduction in both budget and enrollment, Mistry said that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has been “very committed to the compact and with what he’s agreed to give, but it’s going to be a real struggle to do anything more than that.”
In early January, Newsom proposed a 2023-24 budget allocating an increase of $227.3 million in recurring funding for the CSU system. This will be the second year of a multiyear compact, or formal agreement, with the CSU.
Another factor directly affecting the budget of universities are lower enrollment rates, which Mistry said can be attributed to the lack of transfer students from local community colleges.
“The biggest decline is in transfers, so it might be something where if you’re working with your fellow community colleges to get students over here, that would be a great thing,” she said. “I think beyond that, the graduation initiative continues to be the biggest priority and being sure that we’re looking at students’ success in a holistic way.”
Mistry previously served as a senator for the college of the arts, president of Associated Students and the president’s ambassador at CSU Long Beach. She also worked in the CSU chancellor’s office for six years, specializing in advocacy while working in Sacramento and building relationships with the various CSU campuses.
“I know very personally what you guys are doing and how hard you work, and the kind of impact that you’re making on behalf of your students,” Mistry said. “Unless you’re part of this, it’s very hard to understand how special the CSU model of AS is, and the kind of experience you’re getting.”
While discussing the issues, the AS voiced potential counteractive measures to budget constraints such as being more active in the campus community, raising the student representation fee, and educating students about the many services offered by Associated Students.