Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sacramento Bee: CSU May Cut 10,000 Students Next Year

CSU may cut 10,000 students next year

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2011 - 11:40 am
California State University campuses may cut enrollment by 10,000 students for the 2011-12 year as part of a larger plan for dealing with budget cuts, officials told trustees during a board meeting today in Long Beach.

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed cutting the CSU budget by $500 million, or 18 percent, if legislators and voters approve a series of tax extensions. At the board meeting, CSU officials presented some big-picture strategies for handling the cuts. In addition to cutting enrollment, they said they'll ask CSU's 23 campuses to collectively cut $281 million and the chancellor's office to reduce its budget by $10.8 million. Staff reductions appear likely, though few specifics were given.

"Because 84 percent of CSU's operating cost is for personnel, the CSU will need to reduce expenses in that area by at least $250 million," a statement from the university says.

CSU will not consider furloughs unless the budget cuts are deeper than $500 million, said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed. That could happen if Brown's proposed tax extensions don't get on the ballot or are rejected by voters. In that case, Reed said, the CSU could see cuts of $1 billion.

"A reduction of that level would force us to reexamine potentially drastic measures including much larger cuts to enrollment and increased tuition fees among other strategies," Reed said in a statement.

Trustees also heard a report from a consultant who compared compensation for CSU presidents and faculty with compensation at comparable universities across the country. The consultant found that CSU pays lower salaries than its comparison schools but gives more generous benefits and retirement plans.

The average salary for CSU campus presidents is $292,830, compared with $444,556 for presidents of comparable schools. The average salary for CSU faculty is $85,083, compared with $99,882 at comparable schools. But benefits for CSU presidents were 25 percent higher than the comparison group and benefits for faculty were 21 percent higher.

On balance, the consultant concluded, when salary, benefits and retirement are combined, CSU presidents come out behind comparable schools by 26 percent, while faculty are 1 percent behind, making them pretty much on par with their peers.

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