March 19, 2012
At this week's Board meeting, Trustees will hear an uncertain future for the 23 campuses; one that could include layoffs, reduced classes, and enrollment caps. The future, as the system will paint it, is grim.
Four-and-a-half years ago, when CSUSM realized that California was on the verge of a major fiscal crisis, we decided that we would:
- serve as many students as possible within our budget and without sacrificing quality;
- protect as many jobs as possible, and;
- balance the need to address the financial crisis with the commitment to build for the future.
Because of this plan, we have been tackling many of the system's current mandates since 2008. The Chancellor is asking presidents to reduce travel. We have already done so. He is asking us to evaluate and cut expenditures. We have done that, too, and we are looking at any planned and possible big purchases.
The Chancellor is also suggesting that positions be put on hold and that layoffs could occur. I have asked the vice presidents to look at all open positions to determine the ones that are essential and those that may be filled at a later date. At this time, I do not foresee any reductions in our permanent workforce.
The proactive approaches we took in 2008 have positioned us better as we plan for the future of this university. In fact, we have seen a 10 percent increase in enrollment since 2008, but that is still less than where we should be. In 2007, because of increased demand and aggressive recruiting, we were expected to have 2,000 more students than we do currently.
We are creating scenarios for the $5 million cut we anticipate if the Governor's November tax ballot fails. We continue to look at other revenues such as summer school, extended education, and the possible use of auxiliary profits. We are also looking to our business partners for support through philanthropy and creative collaborations.
Our thoughtful and prudent stewardship of funds means that we will continue to serve as many students as possible. As a growth institution, cutting academic programs doesn't make sense. We will, however, comply with the system enrollment targets. Given the projected failure of the November tax measure, our system is reducing FTE enrollment by 3 percent for 2013/14, though we are allowed to go over by the same percentage without penalty. CSUSM is therefore planning for a 2013/14 FTE resident enrollment of 7,393. This would be our 3 percent allowable overage.
While it is obvious that California's economy and the legislature's response to it do not favor public higher education, we at CSUSM will continue to plan for the future, make the required reductions to our state appropriated budget and enrollment and continue to be strong advocates for public higher education. Your support is a crucial ingredient, and while we don't have specific action steps that you can take at this moment, I encourage you to opt-in to our e-Advocacy messages as a way of keeping informed (e-Advocacy signup). This will keep you "in the loop" and allow you to add your "voice" in support of returning state appropriations to the CSU.
As we continue to move forward and upward during these difficult times, I will commit, again, to my sharing relevant budget and system messages as often as possible and as transparently as possible. Thank you, always, for your hard work and tireless efforts on behalf of our students and this University.