The California State University is just emerging from the most difficult budget year any of us has seen. Annual state funding support for the CSU had fallen by $625 million, or 21 percent. Everyone sacrificed. In the midst of these challenges, our efforts were focused on maintaining the quality of instruction and services to students. In October 2010, the governor and legislature finally resolved a great budget deficit, and found the resources needed to restore some of the funding cuts taken by the university in the prior years.
The just-enacted state budget for 2010/11 restores almost $260 million and provides an additional $106 million of one-time federal funds. This “recovery” budget, combined with necessary increases in student tuition, allows the CSU to immediately restore student access to the university during the winter and spring terms. Sustaining this multiyear commitment to students will require replacement of the one-time federal funds with recurring revenue as well as the provision of state funds for enrollment growth in 2011/12.
The state will continue to face great fiscal challenges in 2011/12. California’s economic recovery and its longer-term economic and social future depend on the state reinvesting in its people through higher education. This support budget request for 2011/12 is an important statement by the CSU Board of Trustees of what the university needs to fulfill its mission to the people of California during a time of fiscal challenge. The California State University graduated over 95,000 students in 2009/10 to address workforce needs in California, especially in critical industries such as agriculture, engineering, business, technology, media and computer science. There is a pressing demand for student access to the CSU. All of this—access to education and the preparation of the state’s future workforce—depend on the state continuing to reinvest in this great “university of the people.” This budget request is the next necessary step in this process of reinvestment.