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Sept. 19, 2003
What it costs taxpayers to
provide you with an education at
California State University, Fresno

By Edward Davidian, Staff Writer

     FRESNO -- Sacramento lawmakers cut the 2003-2004 University of California budget by $248,000,000 last week. Then went on to cut funds for the California State University system by $345,200,000. Community colleges were cut by $250,000,000.
     In the face of these drastic cuts present salary levels are on the block, as well. At present, average full-time pay for a professor is $108,180; assoc. professors $ 69, 534.
     The graduation rate form Fresno State is only 42%. Catch this, the total costs of operation of the statewide CSU System is a whopping $15,106,121,000 annually.
     The number of bachelorís degrees awarded annually has increased over the past 3 decades, climbing from nearly 800,000 in 1969-1970 to over 1.2 million in 1999Ė20001 (U.S. Department of Education 2002).
     As of the early 1990s, the average number of years between high school graduation and completion of a bachelorís degree had been increasing. For example, the percentage of bachelorís degree completers graduating within 4 years after high school declined from 45 percent to 31 percent between 1977 and 1990.
     At the same time, the percentage of students taking more than 6 years after high school graduation to complete a bachelorís degree increased from 25 percent to 32 percent.
     Time required to complete a bachelorís degree continues to be of particular interest to students, parents, policymakers, and administrators. Research suggests several costs associated with extending the time to complete a bachelorís degree.
     Costs for individuals may involve paying additional tuition or giving up earnings while enrolled. Institutions may incur greater support or other costs for students who complete a bachelorís degree in more than 4 years than for students who complete the degree within 4 years.
    Finally, society may also face costs due to the longer period needed to obtain returns on the investment of public funds in undergraduate education. The California State University budget plan contains unallocated reductions of $21.1 million to California State University, Fresno.
     This is approximately 12.4 percent of our prior year base budget. To help mitigate the impact of reductions to the CSU, the Board of Trustees implemented a 30 percent student fee increase. This fee increase is projected to offset our campus reductions by approximately $9.2 million.
     We will receive $7.5 million in new enrollment growth funding. This leaves us with a $4.4 million net budget shortfall. The budget signed by the Governor reduces the enrollment growth funding for the system from a 7% increase to a 4.3% increase. In addition, the bill specifies that there shall be no enrollment growth for 2004-05 and no employee compensation increases for 2004-05.Our enrollment target has been reduced to 17,428 FTES for 2003-04.
     As a result, CSUF president John Welty, just announced "...We have taken the following action with regard to enrollment in 2003-04 and 2004-05: (1) Applications for the fall 2003 semester are closed; (2) Applications for spring 2004 will be accepted for one month only, from Aug. 1-31, from upper-division students with 56 or more units and returning students. Graduate students may apply from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30 for spring; (3) The campus is not accepting applications from first-time freshmen or lower-division transfer students for the spring 2004 semester; (4) Applications for the fall 2004 semester will be accepted beginning Oct. 1, 2003...Of the $21.1 million in reductions to our campus, $17.1 million were expected since the Governor's initial budget plan was published in January. In consultation with the University Budget committee, the campus has spent much of this past spring diligently working toward making these initial budget reductions.
     The additional cut of approximately $4 million was the result of the budget passed by the Legislature this past week.As many of you know, our campus developed a contingency plan to address $4 million in additional reductions in early May...This contingency plan now will be implemented.
     Unfortunately, this will include reducing the size of our work force by reducing the number of MPP positions by 10.5 FTE. Individuals in those positions affected may not be retained, may be reassigned to vacant positions, or have their time base reduced.
     Actions we are taking for affected MPP's are consistent with collective bargaining agreements which generally require that other options be considered for those people whose positions are affected by work force reduction decisions. I understand that this is a transition that touches individual careers and I like to would remind us all of the need to be supportive of those who are asked to make changes in their career paths."

[Editor's Note: The US Dept. of Education publication NCES 2002-165 is an excellent research study of Bachelor's Degree Recipients in the US, 1 year later.]

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