California State University trustees on Wednesday approved plans to add 21,000 more students and boost efforts to improve graduation rates — without raising tuition — in the next academic year.
Trustees, wrapping up a two-day meeting in Long Beach, approved a $7.3-billion operating budget for 2019-20, voting to request $456 million in additional state funding. They are hoping that the robust economy and widespread public support for higher education will persuade Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to provide more money.
Some trustees pushed for Cal State to ask for even more money for such problems as decaying infrastructure, but Chancellor Timothy P. White said the system’s many pressing needs had to be tempered with political realism.
The budget proposal, White said, is “our best approximation of something that has more than a snowball’s chance in Long Beach of being successful.”
Cal State is asking for $206 million more to help pay for the additional students, who cost about $11,000 each to educate annually. Last year, the 23-campus system turned away 32,000 fully qualified students because of lack of space and staff. For the first time, the university plans in 2019-20 to redirect any qualified students rejected at their selected campuses to other campuses with available space.
The budget also provides money for employee raises ($148 million), efforts to increase graduation rates ($75 million), infrastructure needs ($80 million) and health benefits, retirements and other mandatory costs ($45.4 million).
The spending plan includes one-time funding requests of $250 million to repair or replace aging facilities and $15 million to help students in need of food and shelter.
Trustees will revisit the spending plan in January, after Newsom releases his first budget proposal.