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Cal State won’t ask for second tuition hike

California State University will not seek a second tuition increase this academic year even if it suffers a further $100-million cut in state funding, the system’s chief executive said Wednesday.

Chancellor Charles B. Reed, addressing trustees who were meeting in Long Beach, also rejected adopting a multi-year budget that would incorporate annual tuition increases.

Some higher education leaders argue that such a move, though controversial, would provide stability and help campus leaders, students and parents better manage education costs.

University of California President Mark G. Yudof last week unveiled a proposal that would raise annual tuition for UC students by 8% to 16% over the next four years. Regents were so divided over the issue that officials said the proposal would be revised and any possible action was delayed at least until early next year.

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Reed downplayed the prudence of the multi-year approach, arguing that the current budget volatility made it “too difficult to plan in this environment.”

State funding to Cal State’s 23-campus system was reduced by $650 million in 2010-11, while annual tuition increased this fall by 22% over the previous year, to $5,472. With campus-based fees that average $950, full-time undergraduates now pay about $6,422, not including books and housing.

If state tax revenue falls short, Cal State and UC — which also saw its funding reduced by $650 million — will take an additional $100-million cut.

The state’s budget crisis is increasingly shifting the onus of education costs to student tuition and fees. For the first time this year, two Cal State campuses — Fullerton and San Jose—will receive more funding from tuition than from state revenue. The UC system experienced the same this year at its 10 campuses. Systemwide, Cal State received 59% of its funding from state coffers and 41% from student fees.

But if the system must absorb another $100-million cut, students at more Cal State campuses could bear a larger burden for education costs, officials said.

At Wednesday’s meeting, financial officers outlined a preliminary budget request for 2012-13 of $315 million. The proposal includes $100 million for enrollment growth of 5%, or about 10,000 students, as well as $95 million for a 3% raise in compensation for faculty and staff. A detailed budget recommendation is expected to be presented to the trustees in November.

“The preliminary budget plan represents about an 8.25% year-over-year increase, but it is only a partial recovery from the cuts we have taken,” Robert Turnage, assistant vice chancellor for budget, told the trustees.

carla.rivera@latimes.com


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