​At this week's regularly scheduled meeting of the California State University Board of Trustees, the board began discussion about the system's funding priorities for academic year 2017-18. Those funding needs make up the Support Budget request that will be presented to the board as an action item at the November 15-16 meeting. 

After the presentation of the information item on September 20, board members affirmed the system's funding priorities. New state funding will focus on: fully funding the efforts to bolster degree completion rates and accomplish the ambitious Graduation Initiative 2025 goals, expanding enrollment growth for California high school graduates and California community college transfer students, fulfilling existing compensation contract commitments, providing compensation increases for represented employees and those represented under pending bargaining agreements, and covering mandatory costs.  

The initial Support Budget request, which represents the true needs of the university, includes $326 million in anticipated expenditures in support of the board's funding priorities.  However, the Governor's funding plan for 2017-18 only includes $157.2 million in new ongoing funds for the CSU.  An additional $168.8 million in on-going funding is needed to address the CSU's financial commitments and to enable the CSU to scale the programs and services that will enable the university to meet the ambitious Graduation Initiative 2025Goals.  In the last 10 years, the state has only fully funded the CSU Support Budget request once.  Even with the state's continued reinvestment in the system during the post-recession years, the CSU is only now, 10 years later, at pre-recession funding levels.  In today's dollars, the university receives about $2,000 less per student than it did a decade ago while serving 20,000 more students.  Efficiency and cost-cutting measures are not enough to meet the university's ongoing fiscal needs. CSU will ask faculty, students, staff, alumni and other stakeholders to #standwithCSU in advocating for a fully funded Support Budget.

Board members affirmed the need for adequate, sustained state funding to properly resource Graduation Initiative 2025 and the ambitious goals designed to increase completion rates among first-time freshmen, transfer students, low income and underserved students.  The initial Support Budget request includes $75 million to help the university achieve the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals.  With an increased, sustained investment by the state, the university will hire more faculty and academic advisors, increase use of eAdvising tools, expand availability of course sections, increase access to online courses and fully online degree programs, and increase the use of data to support decision-making and resource allocation. 

A second priority articulated by the board includes expanding access to the university by California's high school graduates and community college transfer students.  The initial Support Budget includes $40 million to admit new students and may also be used to expand course sections for students who are already in the system. 

Facilities and technology infrastructure are also vital to providing students with quality degree programs.  As a result, the CSU anticipates investing $10 million to address critical facility infrastructure needs.

Other investments include $195 million to fund existing employee group contract commitments and compensating employees from other bargaining units with pending agreements and non-represented employees. 

And, $26 million to cover mandatory costs – the expenditures that relate the cost of doing business including escalating health care and retirement costs, the operation and maintenance of newly-constructed campus facilities, and expenditures associated with new state and federal wage laws.

Details about the initial Support Budget are available at http://www.calstate.edu/bot/agendas/.