CSU Budget Increase to Benefit Freshmen
Increase is first after three years of budget reductions
September 29, 2005 6:31 PM
More than one hundred million dollars was added to the California State University budget this summer and the biggest beneficiaries at SF State won’t be those on the brink of a lengthy graduation ceremony.
Instead, it will be the freshmen.
This past July, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature came to a state budget agreement that increased the 2005-06 CSU General Fund by $134 million. It is a 5.4 percent increase in new revenue and raised the total budget to $2.6 billion. It was the first increase after three consecutive years of budget reductions.
“It’s an enormous relief that for the first time in three years, San Francisco State will not need to absorb budget reductions,” said Ellen Griffin, the university’s director of public affairs and publications. “It is encouraging that we’ve received a modest increase to fund the sections needed to meet our new enrollment target.”
Meeting that enrollment target is where most of the money is slated to be spent. This semester, SF State admitted its largest freshman class. A significant amount of the additional revenue received is planned to go towards accommodating this wave of new students.
“We haven’t yet had any meeting directly concerning this topic,” explained Caran Colvin, the chair of the Academic Senate. “But from what I know, a lot of the money will be used to open up more sections of English 114, English 214 and other lower-division classes.”
Some of the departments that suffered severe budget cuts last semester are not expecting the extra money to trickle down to them.
“There’s no indication that the money the university received will help us open up new sections,” said Midori McKeon, the chair of the department of foreign languages and literature. “Actually, despite this money, the future of the Russian studies minor program is uncertain. This is after they already eliminated the BA program.”
The other departments that had previously found themselves waiting in line for the chopping block, like social sciences and California studies, are not anticipating that the new budget will help them much either.
To some though, there is a bit of an upside to the new financial quota. It goes something in the way of: A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.
“The fiscal situation of the school is not the greatest,” said the director of the school of engineering, Shy-Shenq Liou. “But the department did get a little bit more money this semester. It’s still not enough but at least we can maintain the same numbers of sections open.”
Other CSU campuses are expected to use the boost in income in a way similar to SF State. They too have had a growth in freshmen enrollment and will use the money to cater to the new batch of fresh faces.
According to a memorandum from the Office of the Chancellor, the state universities will use much of the funds for such things as employee compensation increases, structural budget deficiencies in libraries, technology and deferred maintenance. Some money will also be allocated for financial aid.
For the meantime, here at SF State, the bone that the governor and legislature tossed the CSU will ensure freshmen the classes they’ll need to teach them how to write a decent essay and sharpen their math skills. As for the juniors and seniors, they’ll most likely continue to pack into stuffy classrooms and participate in the ongoing debate of whether it’s too hot when the windows are closed or too cold when they are left open.
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