Good News, Bad News
CSUMB officials relieved at stanching of cuts, MPC takes wait-and-see stance.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
After a semester of fewer class offerings, higher tuition and frequent furlough days, Cal State Monterey Bay junior Adrienne Brown likes the prospect of greener budget times. “It’s sad that we are paying more money and we are having less offered,” she says outside CSUMB’s towering library.
The state’s cycle of raising fees and cutting back higher education could shift now that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed restoring $305 million to California State University’s budget next fiscal year and throwing in more than $60 million for enrollment growth, if—and that’s a big if—federal funding comes through.
There are still months of budget wrangling ahead, but CSUMB President Dianne Harrison hailed the governor’s move, particularly his call for a constitutional amendment to guarantee CSU and University of California systems are never short-changed to fund prisons. “From a philosophical standpoint, it was music to our ears: the notion that he wants to spend more on higher education than prisons,” she says.
What the proposals would mean in dollars and cents for CSUMB is unclear, but university officials are anxious to re-open enrollment, now capped at 4,200, and get back the more than $7 million cut from its budget this academic year.
Monterey Peninsula College President Douglas Garrison says Schwarzenegger’s recommended budget may help MPC educate its largest student body ever, but cuts in categorical funding could reduce support for first-generation college students, and the state may propose raising community college fees above $26 per unit.
“While it brings stability to some areas of our budget, it still does have a negative impact on some of our students,” he says, adding that a combination of the recession and fewer freshman at CSUS has increased demand at MPC.