New Report Outlines CSU's Economic Impact
November 30, 2004 2:19 PM
Despite the tremendous economic impact of CSU campuses on California outlined in a new report, state officials continue to raise tuition and fees to make up for the state's budget woes.
The study, released on Nov. 16 by ICF Consulting and requested by the CSU Board of Trustees, showed in detail the impact the CSU system has on the California economy. Many believe the new study will provide a reason to prevent further fee hikes.
The CSU Board of Trustees approved an 8 percent tuition hike for undergraduates and 10 percent raise for graduates on Oct. 28 for the 2005-2006 academic year, representing a 63 percent increase since fall 2002.
If approved by the state legislature, the fee increase might have an impact on undergraduate and graduate enrollment in the 23-campus system as it has been in the past.
The good economic news this study represents will give the California Faculty Association (CFA) the ammunition it needs to fight for bigger funds for the CSU system.
“This is a very important study confirming what the CFA has been saying for years,” said Alice Sunshine, communications director of the CFA.
Sunshine said the CFA is working with the state legislators, professors and students to raise awareness of the effect the CSU system has on California. She also said some legislators don’t know about it.
The CSU system contributes $13.6 billion annually in economic activity, supports 207, 000 jobs and generates some $760 million in taxes for California.
In addition, the study said that for every $1 the state invests in the CSU system, it returns $4.41.
SF State, the school generates almost $500 million into the Bay Area economy, and for every $1 invested in a student at SF State, it returns $6.05, the highest return according to the study.
“Higher education has become an investment good,” said Betty Blecha, professor of economics at SF State. She said she is not sure whether the study Working for California “is persuasive enough.”
“I think they miss the point,” referring to the authors of the study.
“Students are paying more and getting less,” she said.
Blecha also said that many people are concerned about young students not being able to go to college.
“For a country that believes in students making their dream come true, this should be a matter of concern,” Blecha said.
According to the CFA, 10,000 qualified students cannot enroll on the CSU system because tuition increases make it unaffordable, and also because the CSU Board of Trustees has not asked the state government for enough money to provide for more student enrollment.
The $4 billion budget the CSU Board of Trustees approved calls for an increase of 2.5 percent in government funds for student enrollment, whereas the CFA asked for a 4 percent increase that would allow some 4,800 new students to enroll in the CSU campuses.
Overall, the CSU Board of Trustees asked the government for $123 million increase. The CFA called for an additional $181 million to reach out to those students left behind, among other considerations.
“We are going to lobby and talk to members of the legislature because if we don’t ask what we want we are not going to get it,” said Sunshine.
Colleen Bentley-Adler, Director of Public Affairs for the CSU, said students should look into the future.
“It is not good for students,” said Bentley-Adler of the proposed tuition increase, “but you have to look at the value students will have to receive in the long term, the earnings they are going to have in the future,” she said.
The CSU budget proposal goes to the state Department of Finance in mid-January, which will allow the governor to consider it for the state’s budget 2005-2006.
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