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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Financial analysis of CSU reveals strong financial status

The cash surpluses from 2022 are more than enough to afford the CFA’s 12% general salary increase
Created by Ariana Powell on Nov. 2.

At the California Faculty Association’s fall assembly on Sunday, a forensic accountant and Eastern Michigan University professor, Howard Bunsis, presented his findings on the California State University’s financial status.

Bunsis’ findings showed the CSU is in strong financial condition and the CFA’s salary-related proposal could be met.

Some of the findings are as follows:

  1. The CFA’s salary proposal can be covered by annual operating cash surpluses, without tapping into reserves
  2. The CSU is financially strong and has high levels of reserves and cash surpluses
  3. The CSU’s largest revenue source, state funding, has increased in recent years and will continue to through 2025

Funding and expenses

Operating cash inflows in 2022 were over $12 billion, according to audited financial statements. All came from various sources, including grants and auxiliaries — non-profit organizations such as student bookstores and recreation centers — among others. The two primary revenue sources are state funding and student tuition and fees.

State funding

Slide 23 of Dr. Howard Bunsis’ CSU financial analysis. Courtesy: Howard Bunsis, CFA

The highest source of revenue for the CSU comes from state funding.

According to audited financial statements, the CSU received over $5 billion in state funding, which was a 41% increase from the prior year.

Slide 25 of Dr. Howard Bunsis’ CSu financial analysis. Courtesy Howard Bunsis, CFA

In the financial analysis, there’s also evidence, from the Legislative Analyst’s Office 2023 Higher Education Report the CSU will receive even more state funding through 2025. 

Student tuition and fees

Slide 28 of Dr. Howard Bunsis’ CSU financial analysis. Courtesy: Howard Bunsis, CFA

The second highest source of revenue for the CSU comes from student tuition and fees.

However, student tuition and fee funding are impacted by enrollment and the CSU has suffered an enrollment decrease compared to last year, according to the CSU. There has been a 1.1% tuition revenue decrease because of this.

Chico State is one of the CSUs that has suffered from an enrollment decrease.

The yearly 6% increase, starting in 2024 and ending in 2029, will provide an additional $148 million next academic year, according to the 2024-25 CSU Operating Budget.


Slide 10 of Dr. Howard Bunsis’ CSu financial analysis. Courtesy: Howard Bunsis, CFA

After expenses, according to audited financial statements, in 2022, there was over $1 billion in surpluses, or around 17.3% of the total operating cash inflows.

From these surpluses, there was over $1 billion in excess, which is more than enough to cover the CFA’s 12% general salary increase proposal, which comes out to around $376 million, or around 20% of 2022’s excess.

The CSU’s current proposal, a 5% GSI, is $154 million, which is 8.2% of 2022’s excess.


Slide 7 of Dr. Howard Bunsis’ CSU financial analysis. Courtesy: Howard Bunsis, CFA

According to audited financial records, there was over $8 billion in reserves in 2022, around 82%, of which were unrestricted net assets, meaning funds that are not restricted by legal obligation or commitment.

Reserves are used for non-recurring expenses such as compensating for possible short-term obligations and catastrophic events.

CSU 2024-25 Operating Budget

According to the CSU’s 2024-25 Operating Budget there will be over a $557 million total operating budget and infrastructure increase in the 2024-25 academic year.

The estimated new sources of funds are as follows:

  1. $385 million from state funding
  2. $148 million from tuition with rate increase
  3. $24 million from tuition with strategic resident enrollment growth

The 2024-25 Operating Budget was approved by the CSU Board of Trustees in September, but still needs state approval.

To see all of Bunsis’ CSU financial analysis, go here

The CFA and CSU management fact-finding session has ended, but it could be weeks before the report is ready. CFA members voted to strike in the event a deal is not made on Monday.

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ariana Powell
Ariana Powell, Editor-in-Chief
Ariana Powell is in her fourth year at Chico State as a media arts (criticism) and journalism (news) double-major. Now in her fourth semester on The Orion and having assumed the editor-in-chief position, she is prepared to continue helping upcoming journalists and endeavors to continue building her repertoire of multimedia and writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys writing, watching and analyzing films, reading and spending time with her loved ones.

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