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Cal State University to cut enrollment, faculty, staff and more

Facing an 18% cut in state funding, Cal State plans to reduce enrollment by 10,000, cut $11 million from the chancellor's office and shrink campus funding by $281 million. No tuition hikes are planned, chancellor says.

March 23, 2011|By Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times
  • Students walk to class at Cal State Long Beach, one of 23 university campuses whose budgets will be cut amid a deep reduction in state funding.
Students walk to class at Cal State Long Beach, one of 23 university campuses… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

California State University plans to enroll 10,000 fewer students next year, slash spending in the chancellor's office and reduce faculty and staff to contend with a proposed $500-million cut in state funding, officials said Tuesday.

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees in Long Beach, Cal State administrators outlined a series of actions that will probably mean fewer instructors and classes and more crowded classrooms across the system's 23 campuses.

"We're facing potentially the worst financial situation Cal State has ever faced," trustee William Hauck said, noting that the predicament will get worse if tax extensions proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown are not approved by voters. In that case, Cal State could face a $1-billion state funding reduction.

The system received nearly $2.8 billion in state funding for this fiscal year. The $500-million cut would be a reduction of about 18%.

In November, trustees approved a 10% tuition increase for the 2011-12 school year; about $142 million of that revenue will be used to help close the budget gap, officials said.

There are no plans for additional tuition hikes, but that could change if state support is cut further, Chancellor Charles B. Reed said.

Campuses will be asked to reduce their budgets by a total of $281 million. Those cuts will largely be achieved by not filling some positions and merging others, and could include laying off part-time and temporary faculty and staff, officials said.

Reed said funding for his office will also be cut by nearly $11 million.

Budget details at many campuses are still being decided.

But at Cal State Northridge, administrators are squeezing costs by contracting some custodial services for annual savings of $300,000 to $400,000, installing a high-tech irrigation system that uses a satellite to determine ground moisture, and increasing student-to-faculty ratios.

The consequences of education cuts will be devastating for students, especially those who traditionally have not had access to college, said Northridge President Jolene Koester.

"Many at Northridge are first-generation college students and this is their path to the middle class," Koester said. "To now have the state say, 'We don't value access for you the way we valued it for earlier generations,' is just wrong."

carla.rivera@latimes.com

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