CFA’s hard work pays off: Governor proposes unprecedented funding increase to 2019-20 CSU budget

History was made last week when Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed an unprecedented eight percent increase in state funding for the CSU budget in 2019-20. It marks the first time in CSU history that such a powerful investment would be made, and signals the value of CFA’s years of political work and activism.

For decades, the CSU has been chronically underfunded, and CFA and Students for Quality Education were on the frontlines, advocating to increase the state’s support of the People’s University and to stave off tuition increases.

Gov. Newsom listened. This budget proposal explicitly states that the additional funding is predicated on a tuition freeze in the CSU, in an effort to make sure college remains affordable.

Newsom’s proposal is a $562 million increase to the CSU’s budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Of that, $300 million would be new, ongoing funding, while the remaining $262 million would be one-time funding for various programs, deferred maintenance, and special initiatives such as addressing student hunger and homelessness.

The greater investment in the CSU makes clear the distinction between former Gov. Jerry Brown — who proposed a paltry $92 million in increased funding for the CSU last January — and Gov. Newsom, who served eight years as a CSU Trustee. During that time, he took an active role in opposing tuition increases and fought alongside CFA for increased CSU funding.

“It’s a new day for the CSU,” said CFA President Jennifer Eagan. “This is an unprecedented start and a serious investment in our students and faculty. 

“We’ll be right there to ensure the CSU administration uses this money wisely, especially since it was faculty and students who’ve been fighting for years to help lawmakers see the deep need for investment in the CSU.”

CFA’s advocacy in coming months will focus on increased student access to the CSU, dedicated funding to hire more tenure-track faculty, and securing funds that would improve mental health counselor-to-student ratios on campus.

Gov. Newsom has committed himself to our university system, and that dedication is why CFA was an early supporter of his bid for governor. It is why CFA activists spent hours working to promote his candidacy, and it is why we hosted a campaign stop at San Diego State, where he talked to students and faculty about his commitment to the CSU, labor unions, and California. 

“We are a force of good for the CSU, and this investment by Gov. Newsom is evidence of that,” said CFA Vice President Charles Toombs, who hosted the San Diego State event. “This is why labor unions are a public good. You don’t get to have as strong of an education system if you don’t have a union. When we fight, we win.”

The proposed increase to the CSU budget will be among topics CFA leaders will address at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22 during the 1 p.m. discussion by the Committee on Finance. You can watch the meeting live here.

The electoral work that resulted in the proposed budget increase doesn’t happen without CFA. Join thousands of us who stand committed to fairness for faculty and to ensuring our increasingly diverse student body receives the quality higher education they deserve. It’s time to join CFA today!