President John D Welty, along with Associate Students, Inc. president Arthur Montejano and vice president of external affairs Sean Kiernan, said they were pleased with the passage of Proposition 30.
“This is a great day for the citizens of California,” Welty said. “The citizens voted yesterday [Nov. 6] to reinvest in higher education.”
Welty said that with the passage of Proposition 30, Fresno State will be able to admit the class they had planned on next year, as opposed to reducing enrollment. Fresno State will be able to have some predictability in the funding made available in the next three or four years and look to making courses available to students.
“It certainly has been a rough four years when the state has been disinvesting, in fact in our system almost $1 billion has been reduced,” Welty said. “By no means is this new dollars flowing to us, it simply means the hemorrhaging has stopped and now we can plan ahead and do a better job of serving students in the central valley in the coming years.”
Welty spoke of the challenges ahead as state funding remains below the level of previous years. Fresno State is operating with $15 million less than in 2008-09.
The student fee hike of $249, which was approved by the California State University Board last semester, will be eliminated for the upcoming semester. The fee will either be credited to students’ accounts for next semester or refunded. Students can also receive a reconfigured financial aid package to account for the revised tuition fee rates.
“It is important for people to have access to higher education, which this will allow,” Montejano said. “It will allow us to continue to provide that opportunity for people in the fall as well as secure a level of quality that the students need.”
Though this is a step forward, Welty said, this is not a return to the way things were a few years ago.
With his retirement closing in, Welty said that with the passage of Proposition 30 he will be able to work over the next few months to get the “fiscal house” in order so that whoever replaces him will not need to immediately deal with the reductions.
Welty credited the efforts of Montejano and Kiernan in getting students registered and voting in the decisive election.
ASI worked with the Fresno County Elections Department in providing a precinct in the Satellite Student Union during the General Election. The polling place was also available for any Fresno County voters to drop off absentee ballots and to those who wanted to fill out a provisional ballot.
The polling place served roughly 1,000 students, Kiernan said.
With the passage of the proposition, the CSU system will avoid $250 million cuts to its budget.
“We need to increase the number of college graduates in our region, and stability in state funding is key,” Welty said. “We know there is a demand in Central California for a college education – at Fresno State we admitted our largest-ever freshmen class this fall. Now we can look forward to maintaining our capacity to serve qualified new students next year,” Welty said.