California State University Chancellor Charles Reed told CSU trustees that “there are no good options, only extreme choices” regarding an upcoming budget cut which could total $1 billion.
The state has already approved the $500 million cut, and additional $500 million is at stake unless tax extension is approved by the voters in June. At the moment, we are not even sure whether voters will have an option to vote for the tax extension, a proposal that requires at least four Republicans to pass. No one has stepped forward until now.
As a response, Reed submitted a proposal, which will result in 32% raise in tuition for the students, on top of already increasing tuition rates in the past. A fulltime undergraduate CSU student next year would have to spend $6450 tuition and $950 campus fee, which totals $7,400 – three years ago, it was just half the amount. Another devastating consequence would be to turn away 20,000 qualified applicants for spring 2012.
Even with the increase of tuition, however, the quality of the education suffers. Since 2008, CSU faculty and staff are downsized by 4,145, and additional 80 staff and 600 to 800 classes are expected to be reduced next year.
The decision will potentially draw campus protests from the students.
“Our state leaders need to know that cuts have consequences,” said Christopher Chavez, the President of the Cal State Student Association.
In 2009, students walked out of class and protested when the trustees approved the drastic tuition increase.
While Cal State is trying to accommodate the cut by eliminating operation and maintain cut, even cutting the chancellor’s office budget by $11 million, the $1 billion cut seem far too heavy to make reasonable solution.
“An all-cut budget would mean reducing 36% of our operating costs in one year and I don't know of a business in this country that can take that kind of reduction,” said Reed.
Other suggested options included closing 10 of Cal State’s 23 campuses, reducing the student enrollment by 85,000, or to eliminate financial aid for 100,000 students. Reed has rejected these options.