Friends and Colleagues,
As you probably know, California voters have approved Proposition 30, the governor's measure to raise revenue for public education. Many of us are relieved and gratified by the result.
Because the proposition passed, students will see an immediate reduction in their tuition fees. The $249 increase for full-time undergraduates this Fall will be rescinded, and the $150 increase that was set for Spring will not occur. (More detailed information about this will be sent to students shortly.)
In addition, even more students will be able to pursue a higher education. CSU campuses will be able to serve as many as 15,000 more students in the coming year, for a total enrollment of 435,000. Admissions decisions, which had been held up, can now move ahead.
For the CSU system as a whole, the measure has prevented a $250 million mid-year budget reduction. This reduction would have required Humboldt State to make even more deep cuts, using more than $7 million in reserves and reducing our annual budget next year by over $3 million.
I am grateful for the support shown by voters, and I view Wednesday's vote as an affirmation of the value that Californians place on education. I hope it signals the start of a reinvestment in higher education. We know that California's future prosperity depends on it.
Looking ahead, I must caution you that HSU's budget situation remains clouded. Proposition 30 has stabilized our budget, which is very positive, but it has not solved the long-term impact of recent reductions. Over the last several years, the state has made unprecedented cuts to the CSU budget, reducing it by about $1 billion. Although we have been conservative in our budgeting at HSU, we have not fully implemented these reductions. We have a remaining structural deficit, and it is a moving target, highly dependent on budget discussions in Sacramento and decisions made at the CSU system level.
Campus discussions about our budget have been underway for many months in our new University Resources & Planning Committee. With the election over, members will turn their full attention to approaches for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Agendas and other material are available here.
What is clear to me is that, as we move forward, we will need to be creative to make up for the recent losses in state funding. It will be increasingly important that we meet enrollment targets, open our doors to additional out-of-state and international students, and aggressively seek new revenue. Our ability to serve our students depends on it.
I remain confident that we can meet the challenges ahead. HSU faculty and staff care deeply about helping our students succeed, and that shared purpose is a great strength. I cannot thank you enough for the important work you do.
Rollin C. Richmond