CFA report final attempt to persuade Gov. on budget cuts
May 8, 2008 1:17 PM
The California Faculty Association released a report April 30 as part of a last-ditch effort to put into perspective the overall impact of higher education in the state and save the California State University system from proposed budget cuts.
The report was commissioned by the CFA and released to the media during the union’s Capitol Lobby Days and was prepared by Tim Gage, Matt Newman and Trisha McMahon of the Blue Sky Consulting Group. It takes 21 in-depth studies of higher education and applies them to the CSU system, focusing on the fiscal impact of higher education on California.
“This report is kind of our last message to send out to students who we won’t have as much opportunity to reach because of the semester ending,” said CFA spokesman Brian Ferguson. “It’s also a comprehensive look at what we have been saying for the past few months and what we are trying to get done by the May 15 revise.”
Key findings of the report equated to immediate concern for the state of California during the current budget crisis year in which the CSU is slated to lose $386 million in funding. Investing in higher education is described as sustainable because the impact of universities on regional economic development is large, tax revenues increases with more college-educated people, and more college-educated people means fewer people on public assistance.
The report is the final installment in a series of efforts this semester to garner support for the CSU and secure funding. Its release coincides with the “Gov., can you hear us now?” campaign, which concludes Thursday, and has been deemed a success thus far by the Alliance for the CSU. As of Friday, the alliance counted 1,000 calls, 8,500 faxes and 700 letters to the governor denouncing cuts to the CSU. This prompted the governor’s district office to stop taking calls and turn off fax machines.
“Public higher education is important to Californians,” stated Gage in the report. “Nine in 10 college-going Californians choose colleges in the state and 85 percent choose public colleges and universities.”
“Demographic and economic trends clearly argue for increasing, rather than decreasing, the available supply of college-educated workers…the state faces a looming shortage of skilled, college-educated workers,” the report said.
The Public Policy Institute of California found that 76 percent of Californians think the public university systems are “very important” to the state’s economic viability. It also found that by 2020, 39 percent of jobs will need college-educated workers, but only 33 percent of the state’s working age population will hold bachelor’s degrees.
Gage and the report’s co-authors estimated the CSU would have to deny access to more than 18,000 students over the next two years, effectively taking no new students at all, before its enrollment is fully funded. The university already denied access to 11,000 students in fall 2007.
In response to the report, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s press secretary Aaron McLear wrote on the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert blog that the governor has put millions into higher education since taking office in 2003.
The CFA countered by reminding reporters that although the governor has made small increases to the CSU budget over the last few years, when adjusting for inflation, the system’s budget in 2006-07 was still less than the 2001-2002 budget by more than $300 million. During 2006-2007, CSU had an increase in enrollment of 44,000 students, an 11 percent increase.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University