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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH

January 27, 2010

TO:F. King Alexander, President CSULB
FROM:Don Para, Interim Provost Provost Don Para Signature
Mary Stephens, Vice President for Administration and Finance Vice President Mary Stephens' Signature
Co-chairs, Resource Planning Process Task Force
RE:

Institutional Health and Sustainability

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Under your leadership, CSULB has re-envisioned itself as a

diverse, student-centered, globally-engaged public university committed to providing highly-valued undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities through superior teaching, research, creative activity and service for the people of California and the world. --Mission 2007

CSULB envisions changing lives by expanding educational opportunities, championing creativity, and preparing leaders for a changing world. --Vision 2007

To realize our vision and accomplish our mission, the vice presidents in partnership with the Academic Senate and Staff Council chairs, established five strategic priorities: Student Success, Academic Quality, Service Excellence, Campus Life, and Sustainable Environment.

Current Reality

CSULB’s abilities to fulfill our mission and strategic priorities are threatened. Global, national, and state budget crises have created the worst budget reality in the history of the University. In 2009-10 we are successfully working together to sustain the core elements that have made CSULB an outstanding institution: an excellent educational experience for our students and a civil and positive work environment for our faculty and staff. Unusual sacrifices on the part of faculty, staff and administrators in addition to temporary funding, thoughtful planning and improved efficiency have made 2009-10 manageable despite millions of dollars in budget reductions.

For 2010-11, we are facing severe challenges. If we do not receive the augmentations in the Governor’s January budget proposal, attainment of student learning outcomes will be severely affected. Class availability for students will be sharply constrained; many students will not make reasonable progress to degree; time to degree will increase; graduation rates will decline; and achievement gaps will grow larger. Although we would downsize about 3,000 FTES, the section reductions that accompany enrollment downsizing will cause even further harm to class availability and further damage progress to degree (these are impacts that are not widely appreciated).

If we do receive the Governor’s proposed augmentations, the situation will be less dire but still cause for concern. Increases in funding and the opportunity to grow enrollment, capture student fee revenue, and add sections will be helpful to class availability and progress to degree. We will remain in a tight situation but we are confident the campus will rally to make it work. Even these augmentations, however, will fall far short of the resources needed to sustain quality in the degrees we aspire to offer as “highly valued.” Our plans to place support for research, scholarly and creative activity on hiatus will impair the quality of teaching and learning and are harming faculty morale. Staff reductions will reduce our ability to provide adequate support services, including support for classrooms. Resources to acquire new technologies and maintain existing ones will be severely deficient, with the result that over time technologies will become obsolete or inoperable. In summary, fiscal exigencies will gravely affect the quality of teaching, student success, and the overall student life and experience that our campus has worked so hard to achieve over many years.

Maintaining Institutional Health and Sustainability

Members of the Resource Planning Task Force are deeply concerned about serious, long-term damage to our institution. We have noticed that, while the State University Fee is the same across all the CSUs, CSULB has the lowest mandatory campus-based fees.

We realize that raising fees is not a welcome measure, especially not to our students who have been subjected to increases. For 2009-10, the State University Fee increased in response to the state budget reductions we face. We also recognize that students will soon be subject to a new fee associated with our new wellness center, that students are hit by costs for textbooks, technology and commuting, and that living in Southern California is more expensive than some other places. We also recognize that about one third of our students would receive financial aid offsetting any fee increases, but students just above financial aid limits would be affected.

We have weighed these factors against the very real risk of providing our students with a lower quality education. Even with recent fee increases, CSULB remains very low cost in comparison to all other public state universities. The quality of education that CSULB has provided compared to cost of attendance has made CSULB an exceptional value, but that quality is now threatened.

Recommendation

The Resource Planning Task Force agrees that consideration should be given to increasing mandatory campus-based fees and instituting new campus-based fees with a view to making them an integral part of the aggregate funding at CSULB. It should be noted that ASI President Chavez argued against further fee increases and did not support this recommendation. We are aware that the Chancellor’s Executive Order provides guidelines, processes, and constraints regarding the administration of student fees that must be considered.

We believe that increasing campus-based fees and instituting new campus-based fees should be considered in order to both improve student success and close achievement gaps (especially for low income and under-represented students) and sustain and improve the academic quality of CSULB degrees.

We stand ready to work with you to establish the fiscal necessity of campus-based fees, suggest and evaluate the variety of options available, and manage the policy issues and political realities as requested.