January 9, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

Officials at California State University, Bakersfield were awaiting further information from the CSU Chancellor’s Office regarding the impact of proposed cuts to the CSU budget in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed state budget released today.

That information may not be forthcoming for several days as university officials digest the particulars of the governor’s proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2004-05.

The governor’s proposed budget, released today in Sacramento, would trim $240 million, or 9 percent, from the CSU for fiscal year 2004-05. The proposed cut, together with the 2003-04 budget cut of $531 million, brings the two-year general fund cut to the CSU to $771 million, or 28.8 percent reduction in student support. As a result, the CSU may be forced to reduce enrollment by about 20,000 students, and redirecting 10 percent of first-time freshmen to the state’s community colleges. Earlier this week, Schwarzenegger said in his state of the state address that he wanted to hold student fee increases to 10 percent.

“It’s too early to make any definitive statement about how the governor’s proposed budget will affect Cal State University, Bakersfield,” CSUB President Tomas Arciniega said. “We are greatly concerned about a prospective fee increase and how it will affect our students, plus we’re concerned about reducing our incoming freshman class in fall 2004 by 10 percent.

“Once we receive that information, we will have to evaluate how to minimize the impact on our students; we don’t know at this point the full impact of these reductions on our campus. It is simply too early to say how negatively we will be impacted. But we are very concerned about this negative turn of events.”

Arciniega emphasized that quality would not suffer. “We will not compromise the quality of the education our students receive here at CSUB,” he said. “We will continue to do everything we can to keep the university doors open for students in this region.”

The president said he and his cabinet would be working closely with CSU officials in the coming weeks to meet the challenges presented by the governor’s proposed budget. “I want to assure everyone that we have been, are, and will continue to pursue all avenues to ensure that this community has access to a quality higher education,” Arciniega said.