Public Affairs

California State University Budget Advocacy Day

Budget Advocacy Day
California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed declares the CSU's support for the Governor's proposed higher education budget.

May 25, 2010

Delegations from the California State University were in Sacramento this week to advocate in support of the Governor's proposed budget for higher education. In addition to advocating for the Governor's May revise budget, CSU representatives talked with legislators on other issues including:

Senate Bill 1440

SB 1440, introduced by Senator Alex Padilla and sponsored by California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott and CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, would enact the Student Transfer Achievement Reform (STAR) Act. Commencing with the fall term of the 2011-12 academic year, the STAR Act would establish a transfer Associate in Arts (AA) degree for students that complete 60 transferrable units. The CSU would guarantee these students admission with junior status.

Both the CSU and the CCC estimate millions of dollars in savings by eliminating "excess units" that transfer students often accumulate in earning their degree. SB 1440 frees up seats for other students allowing CSU and CCC the ability to serve an additional 50,000 students.

Additionally, a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California projects a deficit of one million college educated workers in California by 2025 unless the state is able to substantially increase rates of college enrollment and graduation. The bill would increase the number of in-state students transferring to a four-year university, thereby enhancing their earning potential and job marketability for the benefit of California's economy.

Governor Schwarzenegger's May Budget Revision

On May 14, Governor Schwarzenegger presented his May revision of the state budget. The May Revise maintains the proposed restoration of $305 million to the CSU’s 2010-11 budget, as well as an additional $60.6 million to support enrollment growth across the CSU’s 23 campuses. With the timely adoption of the Governor's budget, CSU campuses can begin restoring access for the 2010-11 academic year and serve as many as 29,000 additional students.

The $305 million restoration would serve to backfill a “one-time” reduction to the CSU budget for 2009-2010 and would allow the university to serve 21,000 more students than it can serve under existing state funding levels. The $60.6 million would fund the expansion of enrollment by over 8,000 additional students system-wide. In addition, the governor's May budget revision proposal includes the restoration of new competitive CalGrant awards, which would benefit an estimated 1,600 CSU students and thousands of community college students who will ultimately transfer to the CSU.

Over the past two years the CSU has seen state support cut by $625 million. The governor's proposed restoration of funds – a greatly appreciated step in the right direction – does not address the full impact of previous cuts.

CSU System-wide Capital Facility Projects

The CSU is seeking legislative support for the Governor's recommendation to use prior year general obligation (GO) bonds along with lease revenue bond funds for critical capital facility projects at various campuses across the system. The recommendation provides $79.5 million in lease revenue bonds and $13.4 million in GO bonds, which would create 2,345 jobs, providing a boost to the state's economy.

These long overdue and vital projects include upgrades to classrooms and laboratories, seismic and fire/safety related improvements and equipment funding needed to make recently constructed buildings fully useable. Many of the CSU's buildings are aging with over half of the facilities having been in service for over 30 years. The renovation and renewal of these facilities would also promote accessibility, increase energy efficiency and reduce the CSU's carbon footprint.

The last voter-approved state general obligation bond measure that included funding for higher education capital facility projects came in 2006. Currently interest rates for borrowing for capital construction are at historic lows, and coupled with construction bids 20-35 percent lower, these projects are perfectly timed investments for the state.