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CSU Trustees to Mull Tuition Hikes, Executive Pay Hikes

The Board of Trustees today is looking at budget options should the governor's proposed tax measure fail to get voter approval in November.

Cal Poly Pomona students could soon see their tuition increased again.

The California State University Board of Trustees plan to discuss budget options at its meeting today that include looking at raising tuition if voters don’t approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure in November, according to officials.

The CSU faces an additional $250 million mid-year “trigger” cut if the tax initiative fails to pass.  Options to deal with that prospect include instituting a “triggered” mid-year tuition fee hike, as well as reducing payroll costs and reducing enrollment, according to a news release.

“These are all difficult challenges and choices that the CSU must consider to address our severe budget situation,” said Robert Turnage, assistant vice chancellor for budget.

In November, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a 9 percent tuition hike for the 2012-13 school year. Tuition will increase by $498, meaning undergraduate student fees will go from $5,472 in 2011-12 to $5,970 for 2012- 13. With campus-specific fees added in, the total cost for undergraduate students will be more than $7,000 for the full year.

The increase will be on top of a 12 percent tuition hike that took effect this school year, and a 9 percent increase imposed in 2010.

The state is facing a $16 billion deficit.  The adopted state budget keeps funding for CSUs flat, but if the mid-year trigger cut is instituted, the system will have lost $1.2 billion or 39 percent of it funding from the state since 2007-08, officials said.

The CSU system has a funding gap of around $510 million, even with tuition increases generating $593 million.  That gap is a result of lost funding and the increase in mandatory costs such as employee health premiums. The revenues from tuition hikes have not been able to fill a $1 billion shortfall caused by state funding reductions, officials said.

Cal Poly Pomona has lost $54.8 million in state funding in the past five years.  Should the governor’s tax plan fail to pass in November, that figure would increase to $64.2 million, university spokesman Tim Lynch said in March.

“Tuition increases, which put an increasing burden on students, have not fully offset the loss of state funding,” he said.

The university’s operational budget is around 20 percent less than it was five years ago.  The campus has taken several measures to trim costs, including deferring million of dollars in maintenance, freezing salaries for three years for faculty and four for staff, instituting furloughs, and cutting class sections so that courses are not offered as frequently, he said.

Campuses overall and the Chancellor’s Office have instituted furloughs and a workforce reduction of more than 3,000 employees, but a good amount of the funding gap has been covered using one-time resources and deferrals.

“We are at the point where the use of one-time funds to address ongoing budget cuts is not sustainable,” said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Benjamin Quillian. “It is not possible to continue to patch over budget holes. We need to take actions that reduce our costs going forward. That is the only way we will be able to serve students with the classes and support services that they need.”

The proposals will be discussed at today’s meeting, but action is not expected to be taken until September.

Also on the board’s agenda is pay hikes for three presidents at the system’s Northridge, San Bernardino, and San Francisco campuses that will put their compensation level at more than $300,000 annually.

The pay increases, if approved, would be the first to come that requires salary hikes for new university presidents to come from campus foundations instead of state funds.

Debbie July 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Isn't it wonderful that the Citrus College Board of Trustees has money? At least so says Board President Joanne Montgomery. At today's board meeting a raise in pay was given to the College president over the objections of many in attendance. The raise will be automatic each year through 2016. I'm voting no on all requests for more taxes! Pat Rasmussen was recently re-elected to represent us. We must vote her out next time around in favor of someone more fiscally conservative and someone who will actually listen to her constituents. It's time that all of these boards have the courage to do the right thing and stop raising the pay of the top executives.

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