CSUN stands to lose $3.5 million

Danielle Directo

The California State University system could face an additional $50 million in spending cuts if the state does not receive enough funding from the federal stimulus plan.

CSUN, which had a budget of $312.8 million for 2008-2009, has already lost $6.6 million due to $97 million in cuts made to the CSU for that fiscal year and an additional $4.6 million from the 2009-2010 state budget cuts.’ If the CSU sustains another $50 million in cuts, CSUN could lose another $3.5 million, said Tom McCarron, university vice president of Administration ‘amp; Finance, in a statement to all faculty and staff.

Senior psychology major, Kim Arredondo, said that the way that California and the nation have budgeted for education has been a slap in the face for students.

‘Our four year degrees have turned into seven or eight year degrees,’ Arredondo said. ‘I don’t’t think we were thought of when the stimulus package was put together (politicians) must think we’re easier targets.’

A special election will be held May 19 so voters can decide whether or not to approve certain aspects in the state budget.’ Temporary tax increases, determining spending on education and mental health services, restricting the salaries of state officers and limiting state spending are among some of the issues on that ballot.

‘What has to be done has to be done,’ said Lusine Martirosyan of the potential tax increase. ‘I don’t agree with it but life’s not fair and if it’s temporary then we should try to be positive about it and bear with it.’

The CSU is already $283 million below its operational needs, or roughly 10 percent of its budget, said CSU spokesperson Teresa Ruiz.’ Cuts to each CSU university varies from campus to campus depending on its size, she said.’ CSU Long Beach has the highest enrollment with 37,000 students and a budget of $332.5 million.

CSUN will ‘absorb cost increases such as health benefits and energy costs without additional funding’ and reduce enrollment by 1,800 full-time equivalent students (FTES), according to McCarron’s statement.

Further, tuition will continue to increase by 10 percent, putting CSUN’s student fees for 2009-2010 at roughly $4,017 for full-time undergraduate students.’ The CSU’s budget in 2008-2009 included $1.5 billion in revenue from student fees, with one-third of that, or $500 million, reserved for financial aid.

So far, said Ruiz, the CSU is still waiting for more information regarding the impact of the budget plan on its universities.

‘Things like class sizes and services might be impacted,’ said Ruiz.’ ‘Ultimately, it comes down to how the campuses see fit’ to handle their own budgets.

Cristina Patricio isn’t surprised tuition might go up and that class sizes might increase, still it doesn’t make it make it right.

‘It’s going to put an additional burden on students because they’re not going to get the get a lot of one-on-one with their professors which is necessary to excel in a class,’ said the senior history and Chicana/o studies major. ‘When they increase tuition they’re shutting the door on more students.’

CSUN officials said the university was able to save roughly two percent of its budget each year, or $320 million, when it anticipated the economic crisis two years ago.’

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Harry Hellenbrand, said the university has enough financial padding to withstand cuts to its budget of up to seven percent, but anything beyond that is a problem.

‘There’s not much we can do if we’re not giving the funding that we need,’ said Ruiz.