President Fram Virjee joined Danny Kim, vice president for administration and finance/chief financial officer, in this year’s presentation regarding the fiscal state of the university, getting right to the heart of the matter: Cal State Fullerton received more funding this year from the state but it continues to be at the bottom of the per pupil funding from the California State University system despite having the highest student enrollment of all 23 campuses.
“It’s tempting to see this year’s fiscal situation through rose-tinted glasses because we (the system) has been provided literally the largest budget increase provided to the CSU in history,” said Virjee, noting that CSUF’s portion of that systemwide budget is $29.6 million in baseline and one-time funding. “We should all be grateful for that uptick.”
However, “that rosy-tint of a lens fades a little bit when you consider the fact that virtually all of those dollars must be allocated to cover mandatory costs that are essentially spent or decided even before the ink was dry on the governor’s budget.
“To paraphrase the old blues song, before we adopt ‘champagne minds,’ we need to accept the reality that we are still on ‘a soda water income,”’ Virjee noted.
“We are still financially sound … doing better at living within our means,” said the president, pointing to the good things that have been accomplished: the hiring of 51 new tenure-track faculty this year, the promotion of 59 faculty to tenured status, adding 109 academic sessions, and graduating the largest graduating class on campus and in the CSU, improving CSUF’s graduation rates and lowering the achievement gap.
“I can’t talk budget without venting a little about … our ongoing position in the cellar, as they call it, when it comes to the CSU funding as compared to other campuses,” continued Virjee. “This inequity continues to weigh on our budget, our operations, our initiatives, and frankly, on my conscience.”
Despite bringing it repeatedly to the Chancellor’s Office attention, he noted, in the end, “not much has changed.
“I want you to know that I continue to raise this issue,” Virjee added. “But I want to encourage you to raise that issue as well. If they hear from all of us, it will make a difference.”
Kim echoed Virjee’s comments on the overall sound financial situation for the campus. The state allocation, tuition and fee revenues for 2019-20 amounts to $463,556,933. Forty-nine percent of those funds, Kim explained, will be used for salaries and wages with a further 25 percent going to benefits and 12 percent to financial aid.
The total fiscal year budget of $623,812,167, includes funding from campus specific sources: Student Success funding, the lottery, University Extended Education, Parking and Transportation Services, Auxiliary Services Corp., Associated Students and Titan Student Center, Instructionally Related Activities and the university’s Philanthropic Foundation.
Additional details can be found on the Administration and Finance website.