Academic Senate

Report of the Faculty Trustee March 2017

Steven Stepanek, Faculty Trustee (Northridge)

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Resolution Summaries

Proposed CSU Tuition Increase and Phase Out of the California Middle Class Scholarship Program
The proposed tuition increase of $270 per year for full-time resident CSU students is currently a topic raising extensive discussion.  Both the Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU) and the California State Student Association (CSSA) have passed resolutions opposing the proposed tuition increase and calling for additional state funding.  State funding of the CSU is still proportionally below amounts equivalent to the pre-2008 recession period and the system is currently educating more students than it did in 2007.  The 2017-2018 CSU supplemental budget request contained six specific items for supplemental state funding consideration:

  • Funded enrollment growth – $19.7 million
  • Current employee compensation commitments – $139.1 million
  • Potential new compensation agreements – $55.1 million
  • Facilities and campus infrastructure needs – $10 million
  • Mandatory cost increases – $26 million
  • Graduation Initiative 2025 – $75 million enrollment

 

In the final support budget request submitted by the CSU to the state, these items came to a total of $324.9 million.  The governor has proposed allocating $157.2 million in new continuing funds. This leaves $167.7 million as a supplemental increase request.  If the proposed tuition increase was to be approved, it would generate an estimated $77.5 million after adjusting for the standard one-third set-aside for State University Grants.

 

The math is simple, if the Board continues its stand that covering current employee compensation and mandatory cost increases are the top priority items, those two items total $165.1 million with the current state budget proposal covering $157.2 million of that amount.  How do we cover the difference and provide some money towards the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals of creating new faculty and staff positions to support student success and insure student graduate dates are not delayed because insufficient seats are available in courses critical to their majors?

 

It remains a top priority of the CSU to seek an increase in state funding and avoid a tuition increase but full funding does not look that promising.  Over the past four years, the CSU has each year made supplemental funding requests towards reestablishing state funding levels in the most critical priority areas.  Only once in those four years has the CSU funding request been fully funded.

 

While the debate continues regarding a possible tuition increase, little attention is being paid to another part of the governor’s proposed state budget for 2017-2018, the phase out of the California Middle Class Scholarship Program.  This program benefits families with incomes up to $150,000 by covering part of their tuition costs to attend the CSU.  The proposed state budget provides for continued coverage of those currently in the program but closes the program to new applicants.  This change can have a more significant impact on the affordability and accessibility of public higher education for California families than the currently proposed tuition increase.

 

The CSU needs a more sustainable financial model.  The recommendations of the 2016 Sustainable Financial Model Task Force Report need to be reviewed and developed in a multi-year fiscal planning document in collaboration with the governor’s office, state legislators and state fiscal planning offices.

 

My full reports on Board of Trustee meetings can be found at: http://www.calstate.edu/AcadSen/Records/Faculty_Trustee