CONTACT: Clara Potes-Fellow at (562)951-4806 or cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu
Mike Stepanovich at 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

CSU campuses filling up fast while coping with cutbacks and fee hikes.

The California State University system has begun the new academic year with a net budget reduction of $304 million, a 30 percent fee increase for students and an anticipated record enrollment of 414,000 students.

Because of the state’s budget crisis and deep budget cuts for the CSU, the system has been forced to limit this year’s growth from a projected 7 percent to 4.3 percent. The state’s 2003-04 budget imposed an 11 percent reduction to CSU’s $2.6 billion General Fund budget.

Despite facing the largest budget reduction in its history, the university has preserved most of its fall classes.

“We have been preparing for the past 18 months to manage the budget reductions, and as a result, we will be able to serve the students who were admitted this fall,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “The campus presidents and system administrators deserve credit for appropriately planning for this difficult year and preserving high quality instruction.”

Some incoming students, however, will feel more dramatic effects of the budget cutbacks in spring 2004 given that 11 of the 23 campuses have had to close to mid-year admissions, including CSU Bakersfield. CSUB has closed new enrollment for the spring quarter.

Even with the budget constraints, CSUB is anticipating another record enrollment of about 8,100 students, marking the fourth year in a row of record enrollment at CSUB. Fall quarter classes begin at CSUB on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

“We are committed to serving the maximum number of students we possibly can in our service region,” CSUB Provost James George said. “We are adopting temporary strategies – and we are confident that they are just that: temporary – to accommodate as many students as we possibly can. Students should have no reluctance in enrolling.”

One temporary strategy CSUB has adopted is limiting students to no more than 17 units per quarter. “This measure reflects the reality of the budget crisis,” George said. “Among the reasons we are adopting it is so that more students can gain admission to the university and begin to pursue their baccalaureate degrees.”

In 2004-05 the CSU system must maintain enrollment at the 2003-04 levels to comply with the 2003-04 budget language stipulating that the CSU and the University of California will not receive funding for enrollment growth next year.

“This budget language, along with the severe budget cuts, put limits for the first time on the CSU’s long-standing promise of providing unlimited educational opportunity to California residents,” Chancellor Reed said. “This presents a new challenge for the CSU and the state because higher education is vital to California’s economic prosperity.”

Until now, the CSU had accommodated significant enrollment growth resulting from the increasing demand for higher education dubbed “Tidal Wave II.” Projections by the state’s Department of Finance show that the CSU will have to accommodate 107,000 additional students by fall 2011 when total enrollment is estimated to reach some 513,550 students.

While student growth has been slowed to conform to cutbacks during the budget crisis, the university will focus on providing “authentic access.” That is, preserving quality instruction, and ensuring that those enrolled get the courses they need to make steady progress toward graduation.

In spite of financial challenges, growing student demand, and fee increases, CSU’s fees continue to be the lowest when compared with similar public higher education institutions in the country. Annual undergraduate fees, including campus fees are $2,544 on average, and graduate students pay an average of $2,754 per year. Out-of-state undergraduate students pay $11,004 and out-of-state graduate students pay $11,214 annually on average.

Measures implemented by the CSU to cope with cutbacks included larger classes, a systemwide reduction or freezing of 2,300 staff and faculty positions, a $4.5 million reduction in the Chancellor’s Office, which included the elimination or freezing of 40 positions; and a 30 percent increase in student fees. In addition, the system announced that there will be no salary increases for management employees and executives in 2003-04, which includes the chancellor and 23 campus presidents. Furthermore, this year’s budget language stipulates no salary increases for any CSU employee in 2004-05.

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