President Hutchinson discusses CSU budget proposal, enrollment decline

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Presidential Communications

President Gayle Hutchinson delivering State of University address on March 3.

President Gayle Hutchinson released a video examining the challenges surrounding the university budget and low enrollment in the State of the University address at 1 p.m. on March 3.

In January, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the California State University budget proposal with an estimated budget of $537 million. Hutchinson said this was much less than the amount the CSU board of trustees had requested, however Newsom also proposed an increase of recurring funding by 5% each academic year from 2022-2023 to 2026-2027.

The budget proposal is currently under review by the legislature. In May, Newsom will submit revisions to the legislature for their vote. Hutchinson encourages everyone to ask lawmakers to provide more resources to the CSU system in order to close equity gaps and help the estimated 480,000 CSU students.

For the fiscal year of 2021-2022, the Chico State operating budget is about $240 million, with 58% from state support, 35% from student tuition, 1% from non-resident fees and 6% from miscellaneous fees. 

To offer fair and competitive wages, 80% of the budget goes to the salaries and benefits of the nearly 2,000 members of faculty and staff. Chico State applied a minimum wage increase this January from $14 to $15 an hour and will soon begin faculty salary negotiations. 

Hutchinson also highlighted another concern impacting the budget, which is the significant decline in student enrollment. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund assisted the university during the pandemic while enrollment was low, however it’s not a permanent solution to the loss of funding from student tuition. 

The CSU Chancellor’s Office announced that in 2023, only schools with enrollment growth will receive funding for that growth.

“Chico State is not one of those achieving its enrollment target,” Hutchinson said.

Since the Camp Fire in 2018, Chico State has been experiencing a significant loss in student enrollment. In the academic year of 2017-2018, the university reached its peak enrollment at 16,953 students in the spring semester. Now — three years later — enrollment has dropped to 14,124 students.

On March 2, Jeff Rich stepped into the position of executive director of University Communications to assist in a coordinated plan that will inspire opportunities for enrollment growth.

Through three strategic priorities — equity, diversity, and inclusion, resilient and sustainable systems and civic and global engagement — Chico State looks to solve the unprecedented enrollment challenges that have occurred since the pandemic. 

To view the State of the University address, the video can be found on the Presidential Communications website. 

Gabriela Rudolph can be reached at [email protected]