Tighter Times Ahead for California's Colleges
California Community Colleges and the California State University system are bracing for another round of cuts this winter. The college systems’ budgets, already reduced $400 million and $650 million respectively for the fiscal year, face deeper cuts of roughly $100 million each.
State Controller John Chiang reported last week that tax revenues in July were about $539 million less than expected. Revenue shortfalls at the state could prompt “trigger cuts,” additional reductions in services.
The budget signed at the end of June by Governor Brown calls for the 112 community colleges serving about 2 ¾ million Californians to increase tuition to $46 per unit if the budget triggers are reached. Fees per unit currently stand at $36, already up from $26 for the 2010-2011 school year. Chancellor Jack Scott said that he hoped to avoid implementing any further tuition increases until fall of 2012, but acknowledged schools could face a reduced class catalog in the spring and potentially the elimination of summer school. The San Diego Community College District, serving about 100,000 students, already eliminated most summer school courses last year.
CSU Chancellor Charles Reed also said in a media conference call that he wanted to avoid midyear tuition hikes, noting that year-over-year, fees for Cal State’s 412,000 students are already up 20%.