After a half decade of fiscal crisis for the California State University, the successful passage by the voters of Proposition 30 has stabilized state finances and enabled the governor and the legislature to invest once more in California’s higher education institutions and students. On behalf of the CSU, I express my gratefulness to Governor Brown and the legislature for prioritizing state investment into higher education. The 2013/14 state budget provided the CSU with a programmatic increase of $125.1 million. These funds allowed the university to begin making “down payments” on some pressing needs, such as growing enrollments, minimal compensation improvements for our faculty and staff, and innovative uses of technology to diminish course “bottlenecks” and speed student time to degree. There is much more to be done on behalf of California’s future, over 430,000 enrolled students and the record numbers of Californians applying for admission to CSU campuses.
This recommended support budget for 2014/15 focuses on the objectives of student access, success and completion. It further recognizes that addressing these objectives requires that resources must be devoted to recruitment and retention of committed and qualified faculty and staff and that innovative leveraging of funds is required to provide safe and functional facilities for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors.
This budget recommendation is an important statement by the CSU Board of Trustees of what the university needs to fulfill its mission to the people of California. At the same time, it strikes a balance between the expenditure needs of the university and the state’s need for ongoing fiscal balance. The CSU graduated 101,209 students in 2012/13, addressing workforce needs in critical sectors such as agriculture, engineering, technology, business, nursing and computer science. There is a pressing demand for student access to the CSU, including a great need to accommodate growing numbers of community college transfers. All of this—access to education and the preparation of the state’s future workforce—depends on the state investing in this great “university of the people.” This budget request is the next necessary step in this process of investment.