May 23, 2019

$312.9 million problem

A proposed $312.9 million budget cut to the California State University system could result in a 10 percent student fee increase for the fall 2008 semester.

For Fresno State students, this means an increase of $165.35 per semester.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced cuts across all government-funded organizations on Jan. 10 to fix a $14 billion budget deficit in California.

This includes cuts to the CSU and University of California systems, as well as a $2.2 million cut to financial aid.

“As the public university that prepares the majority of California’s workforce, these budget cuts will have a direct impact on the state’s economy and on the key industries that our graduates enter,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed in a press release Jan. 10.

While the budget will not be approved before July 2008, and has to go through many steps before this happens, the CSU system and the Board of Trustees are already taking steps to ease the effects of the cuts.

Fresno State has stopped accepting applications from transfer students with fewer than 60 units, applicants seeking a second bachelor’s degree and unclassified graduate applicants.

The school is making exceptions for nursing and engineering applicants, and for veterans just returning from tours of active duty.

Other application deadlines have also changed. First time freshmen must apply by Feb. 1, while graduate and credential applicants, upper-division transfers and returning students must apply by April 1.

In all, Fresno State expects to turn away up to 600 students for the fall 2008 semester, according to an announcement from the Admissions, Records and Evaluations office.

This comes at a time when Fresno State’s enrollment is growing. This semester’s enrollment is one of the highest, at 20,667 students.

“We recognize this is a difficult budget year, but these cuts will impact student access to California State Universities because we will not be able to admit all the students who are qualified,” Reed said.

Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees is meeting with legislators to come to a compromise.

“The priority is to try to avoid student fee increases,” said Paul Browning, a CSU spokesperson at the Board of Trustees office.

Browning said the board plans to discuss the budget in depth in their March meeting, where they will have Schwarzenegger will change anything about the cuts.

The cuts also violate a compact between the CSU and UC systems and the governor that was reached in 2004. The governor promised to provide funds for an additional 2.5 percent increase in student enrollment per year. In order to fund this increase in next year’s budget, the CSU system wants approximately $386.1 million.

“If adopted, this budget will be a serious set back for the California State University,” said the California Faculty Association in a press release. “Budget cuts of this magnitude will harm our more than 400,000 students while at the same time eliminating access to the university by 10,000 new students, according to the CSU administration.”

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