Gov. Jerry Brown signed a balanced budget that will reduce state funding to the California State University by at least $150 million Thursday and will likely lead to tuition hikes for fall 2011.
The additional $150 million will come on top of $500 million in cuts enacted in March, totaling $650 million. CSUN anticipates their share of the cuts to be about $46 million, according to the campus budget webpage.
CSU Board of Trustees will meet July 12 to recommend an additional 12 percent increase in tuition fees for the upcoming semester, which was already raised 10 percent, in order to address the new cuts and to preserve the quality of student services and programs.
“We’re really at a point where cutting any deeper within the institution is going to cause lasting damage,” said Erik Fallis, CSU media relations specialist.
James Ballard, CSUN sociology professor and California Faculty Association member, notices the cuts within the institution already, including fewer classes and less variety in times offered.
“More people are competing for a lesser number of classes,” Ballard said. “It’s absolutely not fair to students.”
The 12 percent increase in fees will amount to about $294 per semester, raising yearly tuition from $4,884 to $5,472, which would not directly affect nearly half of CSU students who receive some type of financial aid, according to Fallis.
Still, California Faculty Association President Lillian Taiz expressed disappointment with the passage of the budget that could raise fees over 20 percent higher than last year.
“As we have seen year after year, it’s the students and the working families – in Republican and Democratic districts alike – who will pay the price for these cuts,” Taiz said in a statement.
Ballard agreed students were the victims of the additional cuts.
“People in the legislature are not allowing students dreams to come to fruition,” Ballard said. “That’s what’s really killing our economy.”
The Board of Trustees will also likely begin discussing contingency plans in case a “trigger” cut is enabled, bringing cut totals to $750 million, according to Fallis.
A trigger cut would automatically reduce state funding for the CSU by another $100 million, and add another $7 million to CSUN’s cuts, if state revenues do not reach a projected $4 billion by January.
“The challenge of this potential additional $100 million is if we don’t have advanced warning,” said Fallis.
By the time the CSU knows whether or not the trigger cut will be implemented, it might be too late to deal with it effectively.
“We would have already made decisions for class schedules,” said Fallis. “We would have already made admission offers.”
On a campus level, Ballard sees incoming CSUN freshmen being affected most by the recently passed budget.
“They’re going to have long term problems graduating,” Ballard said. “They think they’re going to graduate in four years; it’s going to take them six.”
Chancellor Charles Reed issued a statement earlier today regarding the proposed budget that would cut at least $150 million and a possible $100 million in “trigger cuts” from the California State University.
“This budget is a great disappointment for the California State University,” said Reed in the statement. “It is a shame that the legislature was unable to reach a compromise.”
Democrats and Republicans in the legislature did not find a compromise with the budget, including extending tax increases to avoid cutting more from the CSU.
The CSU has already undergone a $500 million reduction in funding for fiscal year 2011-12. CSUN’s portion of the cut totals $21.15 million.
While at least $150 million in additional cuts are expected, an extra $100 million in “trigger cuts” could be pulled after classes for fall have already begun.
“This makes it impossible to plan and carry out our mission with any stability,” said Reed.
If the trigger cuts are pulled, the cut total will reach $750 million, reducing the CSU to its lowest level of state funding in 14 years, according to the statement.