Faculty, students help secure additional state funding for the CSU; more investment needed for the ‘People’s University’

Months of advocacy work by faculty, students, and community allies paid off this week as Gov. Jerry Brown signed a state budget bill that includes $204.2 million in additional funding for the California State University system.

Since the beginning of the year, CFA members have dedicated countless hours to helping educate lawmakers about the need to reinvest in the CSU system. We sent thousands of email messages to legislators, wrote hundreds of handwritten letters to Gov. Brown, and even sang in the Capitol Rotunda when Gov. Brown issued his May revise of the state budget.

Underscoring the chorus of advocacy was our report, “Equity, Interrupted: How California Is Cheating Its Future,” which chronicles the systemic underfunding of the CSU as the student body grew increasingly diverse over the past 30 years.

“This was a heavy lift on the part of our faculty and student activists, and the legislature responding to our collective voice made it worth the effort,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan.

“We are appreciative that the Legislature understands the value of the CSU and our students, who are the future of our state,” she said in a written CFA statement. “The investment in ongoing funding rather than merely one-time infusions is meaningful; it provides classes for students and allows for more faculty hiring—the real graduation initiative—allocates funds for new enrollments, and maintains programs. It lays the groundwork for the future.”

Here’s a look at the state funding for the CSU by the numbers:

  • The CSU received an additional $204.2 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year. That includes:
    • $162.2 million in ongoing funding
    • $20 million aimed at enrollment growth
    • $20 million in one-time funding for various programs, including $2.5 million for a new Hunger Free Campus initiative
    • $2 million in special funding for transportation research and education, from funds raised by the new gas tax

More investment is needed, however. As our report shows, the state is spending less per student today than it did in 1985, yet students and their families are paying much more in fees and tuition.

We will continue to fight for a more substantial investment in the coming budget year on behalf of our students, colleagues, and the future of our university system.