By Leah Frost / Staff Writer
By Leah Frost / Staff Writer
State budget cuts have become problematic for the California State University System, and if tax extensions proposed by Governor Brown are not approved then the 23 campus CSU system is headed for catastrophic change.
The CSU Board of Trustees assembled on May 10 to concoct a contingency plan of action for the $500 million budget cut approved last fall by legislature that will hit CSU campuses by fall 2011, according to the CSU website.
Looking past the numbers and getting to the consequences that students will face if an “all-cuts” budget comes into play is overwhelming to say the least.
“There are no good options, only extreme choices,” said Chancellor Charles B. Reed at a trustee meeting. “But, we need to ensure that our students still receive a quality education, that we preserve the institution, and that a degree from the CSU maintains value.”
CSU students are already facing a 10 percent tuition increase, approved last November, which will take affect this fall.
In addition to the 10 percent hike in tuition, students may face a 32 percent increase to be signed into legislature in July, if the tax extensions proposed are not granted, based on the plan outlined on the CSU Website.
Tuition costs vary slightly from campus to campus, but on average if the full increase in tuition is to take place, CSU students will be paying around $6,450 for annual tuition, which does not include the campus fees which averages $950, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In addition to the actions taken to compensate for the budget through tuition hikes, enrollment will also be effected in order to offset the budget.
The initial $500 million brought forth the plan to reduce enrollment across the CSU campuses by 10,000 students this fall. This is the best case scenario, according to the CSU website.
It has been stated by CSU that they plan on “waitlisting” students applying for winter and spring 2012.
The University may eventually have to turn away 20,000 applicants that would normally be approved for the winter and spring 2012 sessions.
“Neither of these extreme measures—raising tuition or closing spring admissions—will be necessary if the tax extensions are continued,” Reed said. “It is critical that we continue to advocate in Sacramento that they are part of the final budget solution. That is the only way to avoid going down the budget path of no return.”
Additional plans have been tossed around but put on the back burner for now by the Board of Trustees in order to compensate for the possible additional $500 million in budget cuts.
To compensate for the additional funds, CSU campuses across the board will be asked to cut their own budgets as well as the chancellor’s office, reducing programs, personnel elimination and furlough days as well as other cost cuts throughout the system.
Although the entire CSU system is going to have to make extreme changes to compensate for what Reed referred to as “a scorched earth budget,” the main concern is what the future will hold for the CSU system students.
At this time the CSU system is the affordable alternative for students to complete a degree in order to join the workforce as graduates of higher education.
With the increase in tuition, it is likely that it will take longer for many students to complete their degree due to lack of funds to support tuition costs.
Students face the probability of program cuts leading to a longer wait to get the courses needed, in return, costing students more in tuition to attend a CSU campus longer than the four years usually expected.
In the end, it may cost students nearly the same amount to finish a degree at a private university, which have higher tuition rates, in order to finish a degree in a shorter amount of time as it would for a student to pay tuition for the extra time it will take to get the classes needed to graduate from a CSU.
Until the conclusion of the complete budget is realized at the end of the fiscal year, July 1, the impact for students cannot be definitively defined.