Education

Cal State seeks more funding to enroll 10,000 extra students

California State University trustees say the university system needs more funding if it is to help meet the state's long-term goal to produce one million college graduates by 2025.
California State University trustees say the university system needs more funding if it is to help meet the state's long-term goal to produce one million college graduates by 2025.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

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California State University plans to step up pressure on lawmakers to get $59 million more in state funding to expand enrollment in the next academic year by 10,000 students.

Gov. Jerry Brown included an additional $157 million for Cal State in his budget plan, the latest version of which the governor announced last week.

While K-12 and community colleges wound up as major winners in the revised proposal, the University of California and California State University also benefitted from larger allocations in the wake of the state's improved economy and brighter revenue picture.

Brown's proposal calls for funding 6,000 more Cal State student seats in 2015-2016. But that isn't enough, the trustees said Tuesday at their board meeting in Long Beach.

With growing applications to Cal State's 23 campuses, an additional 4,400 seats — for a total of 10,400 more seats — will be needed, they said. 

CSU Chancellor Tim White said to get the funding necessary, Cal State plans to call on students, labor leaders, and friendly lawmakers to help push for the extra dollars to meet the enrollment need.

“Our job's not yet done,” White said.

Cal State says it needs to open up the additional seats next year to meet a long-term state goal for college-educated workers.

“The state needs at least one million more college graduates by 2025. So as the largest producer of bachelor’s degrees in the state, the CSU takes that challenge and responsibility very seriously,” said Cal State spokeswoman Laurie Weidner.

The university noted how it hopes to spend some of the extra funds in the governor's latest budget plan, including $38 million for programs that help students get their degrees quickly.

Moving students to graduation is a key initiative, administrators have said, because the number of Cal State students transferring from community colleges has been going up, making it even more important for current students to graduate and open up seats.

The governor’s budget proposal is now in the hands of the state legislature. Weidner says Cal State hopes it can secure the extra funds before a June 15 deadline, when lawmakers need to approve a budget and send it on to the governor.