Thursday, August 27, 2009

CSU Budget Crisis

Ok, so I attend a Cal State University school. A school that is in deep financial distress. This semester is unlike any other semester. Furlough days have been introduced. (I admit, I had to look up the actual meaning of 'furlough' - It means a temporary leave of absence.)

Student fees/tuition have just increased by a total of $300. On the first day of school, all my professors discussed that there would be certain days we'd have no classes. They would get a 10% pay cut, hence the reason why they will not come to work (the classroom) or be checking e-mails from students, etc. They will be doing zero work. This makes complete sense. Why work when they won't be getting paid for the days they have to miss?

Thinking that this is a bad situation (because every professor in the school is getting a 10% pay cut), one of my professors pointed out another issue. The professors already voted against tuition increases, but the tuition increases occurred anyway. But, if it weren't for every professor taking furlough days, the tuition increase rates would have been even more, according to one of my professors.

When I heard this, I thought to myself: What wonderful professors I have. What wonderful professors my school has. They are little fish in a big pond fighting for even littler fish: their students. When I heard this, I really, really admired the professors. I had no idea the CSU budget crisis and the state budget deficit hit home incredibly hard until a few days ago.

The budget crisis directly affects students, including myself. For example, the website of my school frequently doesn't work when I'm trying to pay fees, etc. Hence the reason why I've always paid fees in person (yet ironically, a big sign hovers over the students on a big window, urging us to 'Pay Online'... ah, if only technology worked all the time...)

Certain buttons like "submit" or "next" didn't work yesterday. Hence the need for IT, internet-savvy people. We cannot get rid of the IT people! We can't!

Oh, and the biggest downfall of all is that wait-lists have become obsolete (as far as I know) - in the past, when there have been physical spaces available in classes, and an enrolled person didn't show up the first week of school, they were dropped, and a permission code was given to person 1 and 2, etc, on the waitlist.

Furthermore, I have heard that enrollment will be down in the spring. This means that the school will probably accept fewer students.

And, students can only take 16 units or fewer per semester. What about the students who need to finish school asap and who want to take 17 units? Oh, well.

(There is an option, but that includes petitioning the school:

"If the student is a candidate for graduation for the fall 2009 term:
  1. The student must speak to their dept. advisor and get signature approval of the excess units on the excess unit request form. The form is available in ** (classroom # deleted)
  2. Attach a letter to the form explaining the situation and a copy of the [transcripts] confirming that this is the remaining outstanding requirement for graduation.
  3. The excess unit forms will be reviewed for possible processing for confirmed fall 2009 candidates if the approved excess units will complete the final course requirements for graduation. All of this is subject to Academic Affairs approval of processing any of the excess unit forms.

If the above supporting documentation is not attached, the excess unit request will not be considered."

After reading this e-mail, I just knew that after doing this work, it is probably unlikely that a signature will be garnered from an advisor, and that it will also be approved by the academic affairs entity...What is a student to do? The staff also have to take furlough days, and staff hours were already drastically reduced last semester.

Now, the professors say they have no control over the system (i.e. the all-powerful computer and the all-powerful school).

Apparently, the chancellor of the entire CSU and the Board of Trustees is responsible for this. Now, I wonder: According to, my school has about 37,130 students. Multiply 37,130 x $2,046 (new cost of tuition, excluding books, health fees, etc.) = $75,967,980.

Where the heck is this $75 million-plus going??? Why isn't this $75 million-plus money applied to the CSU financial crisis to drastically reduce the debt? And just think: there are 23 CSU campuses.

Something is severely wrong here: Where is all this money going?

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