Budget Central

Budget Outlook Grim

The CSU's sobering budget challenges for the current and next fiscal years were laid out for the Board of Trustees this week.

The CSU's current state appropriations are $2 billion--almost the same as in 1998-99--but the university has 58,000 more students. This means more reliance on student fees, since the state now contributes almost $4,500 less per student than in 1998-99.

Despite increases in tuition fee revenues and the CSU's extensive cost-cutting measures over the last several years, including reducing its workforce by approximately 5,000, the CSU cannot make up the loss in state support. Reductions in state funding combined with increases in mandatory costs (such as energy and health care) since 2007-08 have resulted in the CSU having $510 million less in annual resources to serve students.

Rather than restoring funding to the CSU, Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2012-13 state budget calls for the same level of state support as this year, provided that voters pass a November tax initiative to raise income taxes on high-income earners and increase the state sales tax. If that measure fails, the CSU could face an additional $200 million cut which would drop the university's level of state support to $1.8 billion--the lowest level since 1996-97--but the CSU is now serving 90,000 more students.