California State University is a leader in providing access
to quality education for California’s students. Given
the vast number of students that it prepares for success in
the workforce, the CSU is vital to California’s economic
prosperity—and an investment in the CSU represents an
investment in the future of California.
Each year the CSU must decide how to reconcile significant
indicators of unmet need with the reality of dollars most
likely to be available to address those needs. Over the past
three years, the university has lost previously provided funds
from the state and has been required to pay unavoidable costs
that erased over $500 million from its budget. If the current
2004/05 budget remains unchanged, the structural funding shortfall
at the university (which includes the mandatory cost obligations
that went unfunded over the last three years) will be more
than $900 million in 2005/06—exacerbating the loss of
funds the CSU has already experienced and creating a financial
drag on any efforts to address areas of unmet need.
The challenge for the Board of Trustees and the administration
at the CSU is to develop a financial strategy that is sensitive
to the fiscal pressures confronting the university and does
not compromise the CSU’s ability to maximize the resources
it can legitimately expect to receive from the state.
Over the past several months, the CSU has worked with the
governor, his administration, legislative leaders, and representatives
from all of the CSU’s constituencies to look realistically
at the state’s economic environment. In doing so, we
will decide how to articulate the needs of the university
and determine how best to guarantee the university receives
a fair share of state resources. This budget plan submitted
for 2005/06 is based on the results of those conversations.
It begins the process of recapturing the promise of California’s
higher education master plan.