CSU could lose another 20 percent.
December 4, 2003 4:34 PM
SF State’s budget may once again be put on the chopping block and the results could be severe.
Recently, the state’s Department of Finance ordered all state agencies, including the California State University system, to prepare plans for a possible 20 percent in cuts for next year.
“It’s hard to fathom,” said Leroy Morishita, vice president for administration and finance. He said if the state does reduce the system budget by 20 percent, it would be unrealistic because it would be equivalent to shutting down three CSU campuses.
During the budget town hall meeting on Oct. 1, Morishita and President Robert Corrigan tried to relieve fears, saying that the 20 percent reduction may not happen at all. Corrigan also emphasized that this year’s budget is balanced and that the university has been able to preserve academic programs, as well as faculty and staff positions.
At the same time, Corrigan warned that if the governor’s office really starts looking along the lines of a 20 percent or even 10 percent reduction for the CSU, it would seriously impact SF State and create a $30 million gap.
Until a budget proposal is decided and the actual state budget is drawn, there’s no way of knowing what will happen, he said. The board of trustees will decide on a budget proposal for the 2004-2005 academic year on Oct. 31.
The news of the 20 percent reduction comes at a time when the state estimates a budget deficit of $7.9 billion for next year. If the state’s projections come true, the CSU system could lose $486.2 million of funds in addition to dealing with a current shortfall of $ 12.9 million.
During a September presentation for the 2004-2005 budget, the CSU Committee on Finance met with the trustees to discuss the impact of a 20 percent reduction.
SF State is still grappling with the last round of budget cuts, which have left the university with a $9.7 million shortfall. The entire CSU system experienced $452.4 million in cuts for the 2003-2004 academic year. Out of those cuts, SF State absorbed $25.6 million in reductions.
In response to those reductions, the board of trustees raised student fees in July by 30 percent. Full-time undergraduates paid $474 more this semester and will pay a total of $2,544 for the school year. Graduate students paid $522 bringing their annual total to $2754, while out-of-state student fees run up to $11,004 with the increase.
The fee increase and revenue from this year’s enrollment growth helped ease the effects of the budget cuts, said Provost John Gemello. He said the administration has been preparing for additional cuts for some time now, but that 20 percent in reductions would be too dramatic.
“We’re pretty lean as it is right now,” he said about the current situation. He explained that heavy cuts for the system could mean a number of different things ranging from reducing services to turning away potential students.
But if the institution ended up having to reject potential students, he said, this would mean breaking the system’s promise to provide a place in higher education for all who are eligible. This promise is a key part of the “Master Plan,” which was a set of recommendations from the 1960s that led to the passage of the Donahoe Higher Education Act – the law that governs policies for community colleges and the CSU and University of California systems.
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