The California State University was founded more than four decades ago with a mission to provide access to a quality higher education for California’s students. Since then it has grown into the
country’s largest, most diverse, and most affordable four-year public university system, with over
430,000 students and some of the lowest student fees in the country. The CSU also stands head and
shoulders above all of the other universities in California when it comes to preparing students to enter
the workforce, graduating nearly 88,000 students each year into California’s workforce including the
majority of skilled workers in California’s critical industries such as agriculture, engineering, business,
technology, media, and computer science. The CSU also prepares a vast majority of the professionals
who serve the people of California that includes nurses, teachers, social workers, public administrators,
and those in the criminal justice field.
The CSU is not only a driving force behind California’s economic development; it is vital to California’s economic prosperity. A recent study by an independent consulting firm found that CSU-related
expenditures create over $13 billion in economic impact and support over 207,000 jobs in California.
When the higher earnings of CSU graduates are taken into account, the CSU’s impact reaches
$53 billion, supporting approximately 527,000 jobs in the state. California reaps more than a four-fold
benefit from every dollar the state invests in the CSU. Clearly, an investment in the California State
University is an investment in California.
The 2007/08 CSU budget represents a continuation of state education priorities under the Higher
Education Compact to ensure student access, address compensation issues, increase student
financial aid, and fund CSU mandatory costs. The CSU will continue efforts to address the workforce
needs of California in the areas of nursing and K-12 mathematics and science teacher preparation
that has been supported with “above the Compact” funding. However, it is imperative that additional
“above the Compact” resources are given serious consideration in the 2007/08 budget to support these
and other educational priorities that are vital to the economy of this state.
The Higher Education Compact affords CSU campuses with the fiscal stability to plan student enrollment, hire qualified faculty and staff, grow critical education programs, and mitigate overwhelming
increases in student fees. The CSU recognizes that the Compact funding will not replace the
$522 million reduction in prior CSU budgets or fully address the current demand for student services,
nursing programs, K-12 teachers, or compensation needs. With the understanding that the Compact
represents the floor and not the ceiling for state higher education support, this budget proposes both
one-time and ongoing funding commitments in addition to the CSU’s Compact requirements in 2007/08.
The CSU has the ability to respond in a timely fashion to the workforce needs of California as
acknowledged by the governor and the legislature’s recent investments in K-12 math and science
teachers and nursing programs. The state has invested $1.2 million in the CSU budget over the past
year to enroll students in K-12 math and science teacher preparation programs, and the CSU has
responded by increasing the number of credentialed K-12 math and science teachers from 768 to 1,011.
This represents a 32 percent increase and an impressive start to meeting the CSU’s commitment to
double the number of math and science teachers over the next five years.
The CSU is expanding enrollments in traditionally high-cost nursing programs to meet California’s
critical health care shortage, with over $4 million in one-time and permanent resources “above
Compact” approved by the governor and the legislature. The CSU will enroll an additional 410 students
in CSU graduate nursing programs in 2006/07; 130 of these students are supported exclusively with
“above Compact” state resources. The CSU will also expand its baccalaureate nursing programs in
2006/07 by 35 students, and the governor and legislature have approved one-time funding in anticipation
of a recommendation to add 340 students to the BSN program in 2007/08. Providing permanent funding
for this effort will be an encouraging step in addressing California’s nursing shortage.
The CSU recognizes the state’s overall fiscal condition and competing challenges that affect the
decision to support additional funding above the Higher Education Compact. However, there are
fundamental areas that are represented in the 2007/08 CSU budget that are not only vital for students
completing their degrees, but also play a major role in California’s economy and add tax revenue to
the state’s General Fund. The CSU’s “above Compact” funding recommendations include a student
services initiative for the Early Assessment Program and to facilitate graduation; additional K-12 math
and science teacher preparation and special education programs; aggressive efforts to expand
nursing programs; increased funding to attract and retain quality faculty and staff; and resources for
applied research. In addition, the 2007/08 CSU budget includes a “one-time” funding request for
technology equipment to better serve students in the classroom and for deferred maintenance.
The 2007/08 CSU funding priorities were formed with an eye toward the long-range goals and needs
of the university, and in consultation with the members of the Board of Trustees, campus presidents,
representatives of the CSU Academic Senate, members of the System Budget Advisory Committee
(which includes student, faculty, staff, alumni, unions, and administrative representatives), and the
chief administrative and academic officers of the CSU. Full funding under the Higher Education
Compact and recognition of the CSU’s additional funding requests represents a modest yet critical
investment that will produce an overwhelming rate of return from CSU students and a major benefit to
the workforce and fiscal stability of the state of California.