The CSU Today

This year, the CSU will serve more than 480,000 students, a number which has steadily grown over the past decade. Additionally, a record number of students, over 119,000, graduated last year.

In September 2016, the CSU reset the goals for Graduation Initiative 2025 to reduce time-to-degree, increase graduation rates, and eliminate achievement gaps for underrepresented students, low-income students, and first-generation students. In 2017-18, campuses invested $87 million in recurring and one-time funds to reduce barriers to degree, hire more faculty, expand course offerings, and scale up existing student success initiatives. This investment allows the CSU to do its part to meet California’s need for more bachelor’s degrees by 2030.

At the close of the Great Recession, the CSU entered into new, multi-year collective bargaining agreements that committed to providing faculty and staff competitive salaries and benefits packages. Recruiting and retaining the best faculty and staff is key to providing a quality educational experience to all CSU students.

These priorities require new and significant recurring financial investments that cannot be supported by the state’s current level of investment in higher education. Consequently, the CSU made the difficult choice to raise tuition in 2017-18 for the first time in six years. The new tuition revenue generated from the tuition increases helped to cover rising costs and expand Graduation Initiative 2025 priorities that are critical for student success and completion.

Heading into 2018-19, the CSU looks to build upon its momentum by proposing a $6.8 billion operating budget, with the first priority being a $263.0 million increase in general fund from the state. The budget plan seeks additional funds for:

  • the second year of Graduation Initiative 2025;
  • significant funding for compensation increases for all employee groups;
  • enrollment growth of one percent, 3,641 full-time equivalent students;
  • investment in critical infrastructure; and
  • mandatory cost increases for health care, minimum wage and retirement costs.

With greater support, the CSU can go further and faster on the path it has set for itself with Graduation Initiative 2025. The operating budget increase proposed here will continue to ensure that all students have the opportunity to graduate in a timely manner, positively impacting their future, and producing the graduates needed to power California and the nation.