Center for California Studies, $428,284
Center for California Studies is a unit of the CSU whose mission
is to promote understanding of and effective participation
in the political and policy processes that govern the State
of California. Central to this mission is the administration
of the Assembly, Executive, Judicial Administration and Senate
fellowship programs and the LegiSchool Project. The fellowship
programs provide “on the job” experience on the
policy-making process to 64 Fellows who are studying California
government issues at CSUS. At the same time, these students
provide valuable services to the legislative, executive and
judicial branches of State government. The LegiSchool Project
provides high school students a “hands-on” opportunity
to participate in legislative debates on issues that directly
Capital Fellows Programs
The Center for California Studies operates as a public education,
public service and applied research office of California State
University, Sacramento devoted to promoting the understanding
of California’s history, cultures and public policies.
As part of its public service responsibilities, the Center
administers the nationally renowned Capital Fellows programs,
which include the California Senate Fellows, the Jesse M.
Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program, the Executive Fellowship
Program and the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program.
Through these programs, 64 fellows are selected to spend a
year working with the California legislative, executive or
judicial branches of government. Fellows receive a modest
stipend and benefits in exchange for full-time professional
work in State government. The fellows are enrolled as graduate
students (12 units) at CSUS and participate in a carefully
planned educational program built around their governmental
The four fellowship programs provide the Legislature, the
Executive branch and the State Judiciary with individuals
with proven academic and professional achievements, knowledge
of California government, and a strong commitment to both
public and community service. Fellows serve an 11-month term,
providing staff assistance in the State Capitol offices of
legislators and legislative committees; Executive branch agencies,
departments, boards, commissions and constitutional offices;
and the Judicial Council, the Administrative Office of the
Courts and consolidated county courts.
The direct costs of the Capital Fellows programs consist
of stipends, benefits and student fees for 64 fellows. There
are also operating expenditures associated with administering
the program. Since the fellowship programs began, an agreement
between CSU and the State Department of Finance resulted in
calculation of the fellowship programs’ operating expenditures
budget at 15 percent of the direct costs.
Faculty Research Fellows Program
Center for California Studies also administers the Faculty
Research Fellows Program. Since 1994/95, the considerable
faculty and staff resources of the CSU have been made accessible
to either the executive or legislative branches of California
State government through the Faculty Research Fellows Program.
The Faculty Research Fellows Program provides for directed
faculty and staff research such as research papers requested
by the Legislature and/or executive branch agencies, organizing
and participating in conferences, seminars, symposiums and
similar public services activities.
The direct costs of administering the Faculty Research Fellows
Program are grants awarded to the researching faculty or staff.
Indirect costs are calculated at 20 percent of direct costs
and cover the cost of administering the program and publishing
The LegiSchool Project, administered by the Center, was developed
in 1994 as an educational collaboration between CSUS and the
California State Legislature. LegiSchool is an issues-oriented,
civics curriculum designed to engage students in discussions
about genuine problems facing the State, encourage critical
thinking skills and promote the knowledge necessary for effective
citizenship. The mission of LegiSchool is to promote citizenship
in schools by creating opportunities for high school students
to participate in debates with State leaders concerning the
problems affecting California citizens. By focusing on issues
that directly impact students, LegiSchool activities and study
materials increase students’ interest.
The second element of the project is an ongoing series of
interactive, televised town hall meetings and press conferences
in which State government officials and high school students
meet face-to-face to discuss current issues and legislation.
These meetings are broadcast live from the State Capitol by
the California Channel, which enables students and other interested
citizens throughout the State to participate in the discussion.
Comprehensive study packets are available for classroom use
before and after each televised event.
Prior to FY 1999/2000, the Assembly and Senate provided
funding for the LegiSchool Project through interagency agreements
with CSUS. In FY 1999/2000, $125,000 was included in the CSU
budget for the LegiSchool Project, which was transferred to
the Center budget to cover direct and administrative costs
of the project.
Undergraduate Outreach and Development
Sacramento Semester Program is an undergraduate internship
program of CSUS which each spring semester places students
in a variety of State government and legislative internship
positions in Sacramento. Participants earn six units in internship
credit plus six units in an accompanying seminar course in
State government and politics, which allows participants to
integrate their practical internship experience with academic
work. The Sacramento Semester Program is open to students
from throughout the CSU as well as other universities. Typically,
many alumni of the Sacramento Semester Program apply to a
Capital Fellows program once they graduate. The funding provides
financial aid to fifteen Sacramento Semester students each
year totaling $3,600 each (i.e., an amount approximating the
fees and room and board for one semester at CSUS). This enables
more students of limited economic resources to participate
in the Sacramento Semester Program and, in turn, creates a
larger pool for Capital Fellows program applicants in the
Program Administrative Costs—Judicial Administration
Created in 1996/97, the Judicial Administration Fellowship
Program (JAF) is administered in partnership with the Judicial
Council. JAF Fellows provide professional staff support to
judicial administration operations throughout California.
In FY 2000/01, the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program
was expanded to ten fellows; and the Center soon realized
the administrative impact of doubling the program, compounded
by the placement of JAF Fellows across the State, rendered
the old JAF/Executive administrative structure untenable.
The Center requested and received additional funding of $114,000
in the 2001/02 budget to fund salary and benefits for a full-time
director and half-time support assistant for the JAF Program.
2004/05 Budget Increase
The total increase being requested is $428,284. This includes
restoration of the budget reduction taken in 2003/04 of $253,000.
In addition, additional funds are being requested for the
Fellows Programs and the Center’s administrative staff
Over the past several years, applications to all Capital
Fellows Programs have declined. Available data indicate that
the primary cause of this decline is the level of the monthly
stipend that is not competitive in the job market. Despite
recent increases, the stipend remains below what it would
be if the stipend kept pace with civil service salary adjustments
of the past decade.
This request reflects a stipend increase for 2004/2005 of
$68 per month per fellow. The total stipend increase for 64
fellows for 11 months, including the associated benefit and
operating expenditures increase, is $124,284.
In addition, the Center’s administrative benefits cost
has a shortfall of $51,000. This is strictly a benefits increase,
no salary increases have been included in this request.