Photo illustration by Michael Uribes
The CSU system has received funding that will allow for a partial restoration of spring admissions, to add or return course sections to schedules and offer longer operating hours in campus services.
This extra funding, amounting to $106 million, comes from a final lump sum from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). With this money, CSU’s can now plan for a limited number of additional students for the winter and spring terms.
According to a CSU press release published on Sep. 16, “CSU will use monies from state support and student fee revenues previously set aside for payroll to admit a limited number of new students and restore courses that were previously cut due to budget reductions.”
“We’re getting a third of the budget restored,” said Bernard Vinovrski, associate vice president for enrollment services at Fresno State. “It’s one time money, not permanent money. This gives us room for approximately 400 new students.”
Although this number is significantly low compared to the admission in the spring 2009 semester, which was approximately 1500 students, it is a hopeful step in the right direction for a complete restoration, said Vinovrski.
“When we initially posted our applications [for the Spring 2011 semester], we said that preference will be given to those [applicants] who filed during the priority period,” said Vinovrski.
Credential, graduate and upper-division returning students who filed during the priority period will likely be the first applicants who make it into the university, he said.
“We might also be able to take the upper-division transfer students who applied during that first month,” he said.
It’s a real risk to admit new students during the middle of the year, he said, and that’s why the university must be restrictive as to the number of students that can be admitted.
“When one-time money comes in, we serve [more] students, then we don’t get additional funds, then we have to go back to that game of reducing enrollment next fall. No one wants to do that.”
Fresno State administration will attend a conference call at the Chancellor’s Office Monday. This meeting will further clarify if the rest of the budget will be restored. It’s important, Vinovrski said, because if the rest of the money is restored, all students who meet admission requirements will make it into the university.
However, the real benefit from this money is for the current students, he said.
“They’re going to be the big winners.” The addition of more courses will greatly benefit the student body.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, William Covino, confirmed that more courses are expected to be added in time for the spring semester.
“[We also expect] to expand library hours,” said Covino.
How much they will be expanded is yet to be determined, said David Tyckoson, associate dean of the Henry Madden Library. In addition, he says the library has received several requests from students to expand operating hours in the library, but there is no common consensus, he said.
Some students would prefer more Saturday hours and others would appreciate extended weekdays in the library. Whatever comes of it, the change would take some work to implement.
“We’d have to adjust our staff but it’s possible. Last year with the furloughs it was tough but this year will be easier.”
Although the $106 million in funding does not account for the full $305 million currently expected to be restored to the CSU system, it will be pending the approval by the governor and by the legislature in a state budget.
“[It’s positive] because we got the money,” said Vinovrksi.
“There is a fear that we may not even have a budget till early December because the legislative people are so frustrated that they can’t compromise,” he said.
With the November election, speculation is that legislators may wait for the establishment of the new governor to fully restore the CSU funds.
But Vinovrski hopes these questions and concerns will be addressed during the Chancellor’s Office meeting Monday.