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CSU to enroll fewer students amid budget cuts

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March 23, 2011 |

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California State University system plans to enroll about 10,000 fewer students as part of its response to anticipated cuts in state funding, school officials said Tuesday.

At the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, administrators outlined strategies for the 23-campus system to cope with the $500 million, or 18 percent, cut proposed in Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget plan. The system received about $2.8 billion in state funding for the current fiscal year.

The 2.4 percent reduction in student enrollment in 2011-2012 is expected to save about $60 million, said CSU spokesman Michael Uhlenkamp. The system currently enrolls about 420,000 students.

In addition to the enrollment cuts, the 23 campuses are being asked to reduce their budgets by a total $281 million, officials said. Those cuts could lead to fewer course sections, larger class sizes and fewer faculty and staff.

Cal State administrators warned of more severe consequences if the system loses even more state money than the governor has proposed cutting.

If CSU loses $1 billion, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office recommends that CSU reduce enrollment by 5 percent, raise tuition by 10 percent and cut staff compensation by 5 percent. Any tuition hike would come on top of a 10 percent increase already approved for the fall 2010 term.

“This type of cut would have long-lasting effects on the level of access and service that CSU can provide students and would negatively impact California’s economy,” Chancellor Charles Reed said.

Brown has proposed closing a $26.6 billion state budget deficit by cutting $12.5 billion in spending and asking voters to extend temporary increases in the personal income, sales and vehicle taxes enacted two years ago.

But so far the governor has not secured the Republican support needed to allow voters to decide the tax question in a special election in June.

Under Brown’s plan, Cal State and the University of California each would lose $500 million in state funding, while California’s 112 community colleges would lose $400 million.

Over the last two years, state budget cuts have prompted the CSU system to reduce its workforce, furlough employees, shrink enrollment and raise annual tuition for in-state undergraduates from $2,772 in 2007-2008 to $4,884 in 2011-2012.

By Terrence Chea

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