If students havenâ€™t already been impacted enough by the current economic recession, this year they will take another hit as a result of Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggerâ€™s passing of a $584 million budget reduction for the 23-campus California State University system.
This will directly impact the Fresno State campus as the school budget will be cut by $44.6 million for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
According to CSU vice chancellor Jeri Echeverria, the budget cuts vary for each campus. Cuts are based on the number of students enrolled at each school, and Fresno State accounts for approximately seven percent of students in the CSU system.
â€œThe entire situation is very unfortunate,â€ Echeverria said. â€œOur business is to help as many students as possible and with the budget cuts it makes it difficult for us to serve as many students as we want.â€
Fresno State president John D. Welty began initiating plans to cut back on school spending as soon as the governorâ€™s decision passed.
One of the biggest ways Fresno State plans to cut back is through furlough days for staff. Each faculty member will be forced to take furlough days, resulting in an approximate 10 percent decrease in pay for employees at all levels.
In addition, students saw fees increase by 10 percent in May and an additional 20 percent in July. Enrollment will be limited, and this semester more than 1,200 classes have been cancelled.
â€œWe are going through a very difficult time right now,â€ Echeverria said. â€œI encourage students to talk to state officials because fixing this is important for our future.â€
While the Fresno State administration seems to be doing all it can to recover from the shortage of funds, Associated Student, Inc. (ASI) is attempting to do the same.
ASI vice president of finance Lauren Johnson said that student-funded programs will suffer as a result of the crisis.
ASI is a student fee based organization, and with enrollment down they will see a decrease of $22,000 in this yearâ€™s funds.
â€œItâ€™s hard to say which groups are being hit the hardest because all programs have faced cuts and all programs are dealing with the cuts accordingly,â€ Johnson said.
â€œFrom talking with faculty and university administration, it is clear that they are addressing studentsâ€™ concerns and needs by trying to make these cuts as least intrusive to the students as possible.â€
One way Johnson intends to help students cope is by working closely with specific colleges and departments to inform them of available opportunities, such as Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) grants, ASI Sponsored Activity Grants, and R Grants, which are ASI-funded research grants for students and faculty.
But even with grants and aid available, some students are still feeling uneasy.
â€œItâ€™s really unfortunate and really unfair for students and faculty and the entire CSU system to suffer,â€ said sophomore Derek Oliver. â€œThere is nothing we can do and we just have to deal with it cause there is no way for us to fight it.â€