…one conference call/two take-aways
CA college chancellors warn of midyear budget cuts
By Terence Chea, Associated Press Writer – from The daily News | http://bit.ly/pVss4Q
8/22/2011 3:24:02 PM PDT/Updated: 3:27:05 PM PDT - SAN FRANCISCO - As the new school year begins, California's public colleges and universities are preparing for yet another round of state budget cuts that could lead to higher tuition and fewer classes, higher education leaders said Monday.
The chancellors of California State University and California Community Colleges said their campuses are making plans to cope with midyear cuts that appear increasingly likely.
In the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July, the 23-campus CSU system lost $650 million, while the 112-campus community college system lost $400 million and raised fees from $26 to $36 per unit.
The two systems will face more funding cuts in the middle of the academic year if state tax revenue falls below estimates, triggering automatic cuts to education and social services.
Last week, State Controller John Chiang said tax revenue fell nearly $539 million below projections in July, pushing the state closer toward the so-called trigger cuts.
"The budget is the big elephant in the room that we all need to worry about going forward," said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed during a conference call with reporters. "I need to figure out how to manage what could be a midyear crisis."
The Cal State system, which has 412,000 students, stands to lose an additional $100 million if the midyear cuts are triggered, which would likely result in fewer course sections, fewer instructors and larger class sizes, Reed said.
Reed said he wants to avoid a midyear tuition increase because CSU students will already be paying more than 20 percent more this year than last year.
The community college system, which served 2.75 million students last year, would lose an additional $72 million and raise fees to $46 per unit midyear cuts are triggered.
Campuses would be forced to further reduce course offerings and summer sessions, potentially turning away hundreds of thousands of students, Chancellor Jack Scott said.
"This is a tragedy for students, and this is a tragedy for the state of California that desperately needs trained personnel," Scott said.
On a brighter note, the chancellors said Monday the two systems have made significant progress in implementing a new state law to make it easier for community college students to transfer to a CSU campus.
So far the two systems have created 130 academic programs that will allow community college students to transfer to a Cal State campus with junior status after earning a two-year associate's degree in their major.
"Students are going to save time and money and will become workers in our work force more quickly," Scott said.
CSU, Community College Systems Easing Transfer Process
By Ben Adler, California Capitol Network/kpbs | http://bit.ly/mWvzos
August 22, 2011 - California State University Chancellor Charlie Reed affirmed that the more than 50,000 community college students a year who transfer to a CSU will now have an easier path.
“60 credit hours at the community college and 60 credit hours at the CSU, and they will have earned a bachelor’s degree,” Reed said.
Reed and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott spoke on a “back-to-school” conference call, stating the more efficient transfer program will free up space in classes for students. That’s especially important given state budget cuts. Scott asserts that community colleges are turning away hundreds of thousands of students:
“Not that we’re saying, you can’t be admitted,” he said. “They get there, and the classes are already filled. So they turn away disappointed.”
And both chancellors warned of even more class reductions if revenue shortfalls trigger additional state budget cuts.