CSU asks state for money in lieu of Proposition 30

Gabrielle Moreira

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The California State University system is requesting almost $372 million from the state for their support budget, which will see a five percent enrollment increase and salary increases for faculty and staff.

The CSU is expecting about $69.9 million in their support budget coming from tuition fees for all 23 campuses. If the state grants the CSU’s request, the support budget will increase to $441.8 million.

“It’s important to note that the CSU has submitted similar requests these past few years that haven’t been funded by the state,” said Tom McCarron, CSUN’s vice president and chief fiscal officer, who announced his retirement Nov. 29.

CSUN’s share is based on the percentage of new students enrolled compared to the total of all CSU campuses, which is about 7 to 8 percent, said McCarron. He also said that CSUN received $123 million from the CSU for the 2012-13 academic year and if the state does grant the CSU’s request it could help the university.

The CSU system is asking the state for $371.9 million to offset the money they expect to lose from rolling back the 9 percent tuition increase they implemented this year. With the passage of Proposition 30, the CSU will issue about $250 as credits, checks, or financial aid adjustments to all CSU students and recent graduates.

The CSU expects to lose $261.1 million over the next two academic years because of the reimbursements, according to their support budget.

If the CSU is given the requested amount, $441.8 million in the support budget will provide a 1 percent increase each for faculty and staff, an expected 5 percent enrollment increase for 2013-14, academic programs and academic advisement, and building maintenance, among other things.

“Anything the CSU can get from the legislature to stop costs from being put on students will help,” said Nate Thomas, CSUN CTVA professor and CSUN chapter CFA president. “The CFA is supportive anytime the CSU can get more money for the betterment of our university system.”

In the CSU support budget, $86.3 million, or 19.5 percent, has been allocated for faculty and staff pay increases, while $155.8 million, or 35.3 percent, is going toward the enrollment increase. In order to help students graduate with advisement and academic programs, the CSU has allocated $58 million, or 13.1 percent.

About $8.5 million from the $58 million would then go toward lowering the cost of textbooks, “closing the achievement gap” and funding “academic programs that have a positive impact on improving graduation rates,” as stated in the CSU’s budget plan.

The system’s total budget for 2013-14 is estimated to be about $4.5 billion with $2 million coming from state funding, with or without the additional $371.9 million.

Thomas is hopeful that the CSU could be granted their request this time around, especially with newly elected officials in the legislature, some of whom have experience in the education system. Thomas also cited Gov. Jerry Brown’s attendance at the last CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 14 as a “good sign.”

“We cannot discount higher education,” Thomas said. “I think it’s a right to be educated, not a privilege.”