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Graduating High School Seniors Could Feel Impact

CSU, Community College Chancellors Warn Trigger Cuts Could Mean 670,000 Students May Go Unserved

August 25, 2011

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott and California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed warned during a press conference on Monday that their systems are preparing for the possibility of additional budget cuts in the middle of the academic year – and that could impact access to both systems for high school students preparing to graduate.

“The financial situation is dire and we don’t see it getting any better soon, in fact it may get worse in December if the trigger cuts are made,” said Scott, the leader of the nation’s largest community college system with more than 2.76 million students. “We’ll continue to meet needs as best we can but we need sufficient resources. Our system is currently being funded for 2.5 million students but enrollment demand is so high, this academic year we estimate up to 670,000 students seeking a community college education will not be served.”

“California needs to reinvest in higher education and to once again devote the resources needed to create the most educated workforce in the world," said Reed, the CSU chancellor in charge of more than 400,000 students. “The current and future students of this state who graduate and move on into the workforce are critical to getting the economy turned around.”

The California State University system has taken a budget hit of approximately $650 million and has raised tuition for the fall by an additional 12 percent – or $294 per semester for full-time undergraduates.

For the 2011-12 academic year the California Community Colleges funding has already been reduced by $400 million and student fees were increased by $10 to $36 per unit, amounting to $1,080 per year for a full-time student. The fee increase is expected to generate $110 million in revenue that will go directly into the system to help with enrollment demand. More than $129 million of the system’s funding was deferred which will increase the cumulative total of delayed state payments to $961 million, or roughly 17% of the system’s annual funding.

The two chancellors warned that the budget woes will only worsen if mid-year reductions occur. If state revenues fall more than $1 billion below projections the community colleges will be cut by an additional $30 million and the per unit fees will go from $36 to $46 in spring 2012. The CSU system will take an additional $100 million cut. If the shortfall is more than $2 billion community colleges will suffer a $102 million cut.

Source:  Chancellor's Office, California Community Colleges