Additional Cuts in State Budget Force CSU to Reduce Enrollment

Inadequate Funding Forces the University to Choose Quality Over Access

(July 30, 2003) -- Faced with the largest budget cuts in its history, the California State University system has outlined plans to reduce next academic year’s enrollment growth nearly in half, denying admission to as many as 30,000 students in the spring 2004 term.

Immediately after reviewing legislative mandates from the 2003-04 budget bill approved by the Legislature, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed sent a memorandum to the 23 campus presidents asking them, “in the strongest terms,” not to exceed collective and individual enrollment targets for the upcoming academic year.

“We have entered a totally new budget environment,” Reed said. “The 2003-04 budget will cause this year’s enrollment targets to be reduced essentially to levels that cut funded growth for this year nearly in half. Moreover, legislative budget language asserts no enrollment growth for 2004-05. These legislative mandates not only are direct and clear, but represent wholly new expectations from those who fund public higher education.”

In addition to these legislative directives, Reed said, other reasons move the system to require more effective enrollment management at its campuses.

“Of paramount importance is the unquestionable fact that California State University funding has declined to a level at which quality will erode; adding more students to already inadequate funding will only exacerbate this problem. We have also reached a point where true access to needed courses, adequate courseloads, and an efficient path to graduation are threatened; more students exceeding existing funded enrollment targets will only block authentic access.

“For reasons having to do with quality and access, we must not exceed enrollment targets,” Reed said. “Such an event would falsely convey that current funding is adequate to maintain our high access and quality.”

The CSU “finds itself in a severe predicament,” Reed added. “On the basis of admissions already made for fall and winter quarters and fall semester, the system has exceeded its new system target of 335,000 full-time-equivalent students. Thus, even by taking no new students for spring semester and quarter we will still exceed target.”

The budget approved by the Legislature applied a net cut of $345.2 million to the CSU budget. The cut represents a reduction of 13 percent to CSU’s $2.6 billion General Fund budget.

Under the new budget, the system will grow 4.3 percent in 2003-04, instead of an expected 7 percent. Furthermore, following legislative direction, the system will accommodate zero growth in 2004-05.

Other budget cut impacts include larger and fewer classes, reduction of 2,300 staff and faculty positions, a 30 percent increase in student fees, no salary increases for management employees and executives in 2003-04, and no salary increase for any employee in 2004-05. The Chancellor’s Office already has reduced its budget by $4.5 million and eliminated or frozen 40 positions.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 408,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See

Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, (562) 951-4806,

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Last Updated: 30 July 2003

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