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Budget update -- May 2004

NOTE: The following e-mail message was sent by President Robert A. Corrigan to SFSU faculty and staff on May 20, 2004

Dear Staff and Faculty Colleagues:

Barring extremely unforeseen events, this will be my final budget message of the academic year. Thanks to the Governor's Higher Education Compact with the CSU and UC, we now know what our state budget situation will very likely be for next year, and -- at a minimum -- for six years beyond that. In addition, the CSU Board of Trustees has voted to increase student fees, effective in fall 2004, completing our budget picture for the coming year.

2004 - 05:

What we described as the "best case" scenario for 2004-05, based on the Governor's January budget proposal, is confirmed in the Compact. We still must make the multi-million dollar cuts for which we have been planning and which we have reported to the campus. To remind you, these cuts total more than $30 million. But assuming legislative approval of the Governor's final budget, which now seems quite likely, we will not be taking the additional $4 million in cuts that we had feared.

We still need to discontinue academic programs to balance our budget, but we do not anticipate having to cut into them more deeply than we have already planned. The compact stops the bleeding for next year, but it does not restore the millions we have lost.

Not unexpectedly, a key part of the 2004-05 budget is student fee increases. These new fees will help to address slightly more than 30% of the $241 million reduction in the CSU budget.

In keeping with the Compact, the Board of Trustees voted this week to increase the State University Fee, effective fall 2004, by 14% for undergraduates; 25% for graduate students, and 20% for credential candidates. Starting next fall, a full-time CSU undergraduate will pay $288 more per year (a total of $2,334); a credential candidate will pay $450 more (a total of $2,706), and a full-time graduate student will pay $564 more (a total of $2,820). Non-resident students who are full-time will see their non-resident tuition rise by $1,710, to a total of $10,170. Revised fee schedules will be mailed in early summer.

At the same time, the Governor also has increased financial aid, providing an additional $10.4 million to the CSU for Cal Grants. This will cover the 14% undergraduate fee increase for as many as 38,000 CSU students. Even so, we realize that the fee increases will be a burden to many of our students and no one is pleased to have to ask more of them.

Also starting next fall, SFSU students will see a rise in campus-based fees, as a result of the student fee referendum. With these new funds, and with some short-term help from the Chancellor's Office, we have closed the $2.9 million budget gap that prompted the referendum. While our class schedule for the fall is likely to be smaller than it was a year ago, it will still be 575 classes larger than it would be without this campus fee increase. These funds will also allow us to maintain the Career Center and Counseling & Psychological Services.

The really good news is that with these figures and our careful budget planning, San Francisco State will not have to lay off any tenured or tenure-track faculty, and no permanent or probationary employees, although we have cut back on management staffing. We regret that a great many of our lecturers will not be back next fall, but we hope that many can return when the budget rebounds.

I am pleased to report that Summer Session 2004 will be both large and affordable. Unlike many CSU campuses, we are charging regular fees, not putting summer classes on the much more expensive self-support basis.

While we did close fall 2004 admissions earlier than in recent years (January 16 for first-time freshmen and February 16 for transfer students), we have not had to deny access to any first time freshman or upper division transfer students who applied by the deadline and met admissions requirements.

The Higher Education Compact: 2005-06 through 2010-11

You have no doubt heard criticisms of the Compact. I am among those who consider it good news for San Francisco State and the CSU. It is a realistic acknowledgement of our needs and a partial remedy. The Compact states frankly that this agreement "does not meet all of the segments' budget needs, but it does provide the minimum level of funding needed to prevent further erosion to their budgets, while accommodating enrollment growth and maintaining quality" [Read the full text]. The Compact assures us of the Governor's future support and allows for budget increases beyond those outlined in the document as the State's fiscal situation improves. Furthermore, the legislature can still choose to provide additional funding to the CSU, as it did with Compacts negotiated in the 1990s.

A few highlights:

For the first two years, the Compact calls for a General Fund increase of 3% to the prior year's base. Beginning in 2007-08, that will rise to 4%. In the last three years of the Compact, the State will provide an additional 1% increase to address shortfalls in funding for core areas related to academic program quality -- instructional equipment, instructional technology, libraries, and building maintenance. In addition, the Compact will give us something we have lacked: funding for mandatory cost increases. On top of our base budget, we now will receive state funding for such things as health benefit and retirement increases -- expenses we have had to cover by cutting elsewhere in our budget.

The Compact agrees to fund system wide enrollment increases of 2.5% per year. It also provides something students and families have long sought: a stable fee policy. In the long term, increases in student fees would be tied to the rise in California per capita personal income. For the three years starting with 2004-05, the Compact calls for an average annual increase of 10% for undergraduates (14%, 8% and 8%), and graduate fees will rise by "no less than 10%," moving toward the Governor's policy goal that graduate fees be 50% higher than the undergraduate State University Fee (based on higher cost of instruction and perceived greater economic value of the degree).

I believe that in reaching the Compact, Chancellor Reed and his staff have bargained well for us, and that we now will have a much more secure future throughout the rest of this decade. With this information and a new sense of clarity about our immediate future, I believe that we can move on -- not without pain, but with the confidence that the University will be able to maintain both access and academic quality.

-- Robert A. Corrigan, president

Robert A. Corrigan President


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Last modified July 27, 2004 by University Communications