California State University approves support budget for more students, faculty

Imran Majid

The California State Universities Board of Trustees approved its 2014-15 state support budget request Nov. 6 that includes additional funding for 20,000 new students and 500 new full-time faculty.

The $237.6 million request focuses specifically on student access, success and completion of a degree, said Robert Turnage, the assistant vice chancellor for the budget.

“The budget documents recognize that those three aspects involving students in order to be successful depends on having some resources that are devoted to the recruitment and retention of quality faculty and staff,” Turnage said.

While the CSU originally requested a $250 million increase in state support in September, the Committee on Finance revised its request after completing additional research and receiving input from campus presidents, students, faculty and staff.

The $237.6 million request still exceeds Gov. Jerry Brown’s $142.2 million budget proposal. Brown said the request will be difficult to achieve, considering fiscal demands, including prison overcrowding, firefighting costs and other competing areas.

Turnage said the Board is asking the state to make an investment of less than $4,000 per student to help them achieve their educational goals and benefit society.

“CSU students think it’s important that our system asks for what it truly needs to provide a quality education to all eligible students,” said Sarah Couch, president of California State Students Association. “In addition, we appreciate (that) the budget includes efforts to support student success.”

The Finance Committee voted in favor of the request on Nov. 5, and the item was approved by the Board Nov. 6. Brown, an ex-officio member of the Board, was not present during the vote.

Both the governor’s plan and the CSU’s request include no imminent plans to increase tuition, marking three consecutive years in which tuition has remained the same.

The budget request also includes a $91.6 million compensation pool for all employee groups, including the California Faculty Association and the California State University Employees Union, to increase salaries and remain competitive.

Cal State CFA President Lillian Taiz said the union stands in strong support of the request for additional funding. She said Brown’s plan to increase funding by 20 percent over four years will  still leave the CSU $100 million short of the state’s contribution compared to 2010.

“Our campuses are serving more students than they are getting funding for,” Turnage said. “It’s something you can do in the short-run. In the long-run, it’s not a sustainable practice.”