Gayle Hutchinson reports enrollment shortage and new Camp Fire database


Gayle Hutchinson presents information during her presidential address in the Performing Arts Center at Chico State.

Kimberly Morales

Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson addressed crucial information currently facing the university during her State of the University Address. This included information on the university’s budget, strategic planning to accommodate student needs and a downfall in enrollment, as well as the introduction of a database centered on Chico State’s aid to Camp Fire survivors.

For the 2020-2021 school year, the California State University requested an additional $648 million in funding to bring the total budget to $7.4 billion. The approval by the state is expected to grant less than half of their proposal. 

Although California holds the strongest economy in the U.S. and the fifth-largest economy in the world according to Business Insider, the trend of an expanding economy is not expected to last forever, which may leave the CSU system to painfully adjust. 

Putting the budget into perspective, Hutchinson showcased the current 2019-2020 financial plan, sitting at nearly $250 million. Hutchinson explained that around 90% of that budget is used to compensate over 2,000 staff and faculty of Chico State. Hutchinson continued to clarify that another $25 million goes to students’ financial aid and that tuition and fees only allocate roughly 4% of the operating funds.

However, while fighting for a more substantial budget, Chico State has experienced an issue that universities across California have grappled to adjust to: for the eighth year straight, college enrollment has declined, Hutchinson explained.

With the attractive offer of free tuition for two years from many community colleges, competition with the University of California system and the ripple effect of the Camp Fire, Chico State’s enrollment management has centered more attention on a new mission that highlights inclusion, global engagement and sustainability. 

During the state of the university address, Hutchinson also spotlighted achievements from the Chico State community including an increase in graduates for the 2019-2020 school year, placement of homeless students into university housing and the raising of over $30,000 for housing by fraternities and sororities during Greek Week. 

Recognizing the changes that Chico State has undergone following the 2018 Camp Fire, Hutchinson revealed a new database. The database was introduced as a means of recording the involvement of the Chico State Community towards the survivors of the state’s most deadly wildfire to date. While the information is still in its earliest stages and only allows access to certain credentials, the collection will be available to the public in the near future.


Kimberly Morales can be reached at [email protected] or @kimberlymnews on Twitter.