Campus Budget News

Campus Budget FAQ Archive 4/2010

Frequently Asked Questions

Posted March 25, 2010 / Archived September 29, 2010

This FAQ is now archived. Please visit the main Campus Budget News home page for the most current version of this FAQ. Earlier archived FAQs can be accessed from the Campus Budget News home page as well.


If you have a question that is not answered by this FAQ, you may submit your question to (We also encourage campus employees to consult and share their concerns with their supervisor, unit head, dean, or division vice president.) We cannot respond to individual questions at this time, but will update the FAQ as appropriate to ensure that the common concerns of campus community members are addressed.

THE STATE AND CSU BUDGETS, 2010–11 and 2011–12:

Q: I read on July 28 that Governor Schwarzenegger has directed through executive order that state agencies reinstate furlough days until a new budget is passed. Does this affect us?

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed reiterated in a statement July 28, 2010 that CSU employees will not be subject to furloughs.

Chancellor Reed further stated, "While the CSU is not required to reinstitute furloughs, we will continue efforts to cooperate with the state's effort to minimize the impact on the state general fund. Our employee furloughs ended June 30 and were part of an overall plan to address the massive budget cuts of the past two years. We do not plan to renegotiate furloughs with our employee labor unions, but as requested by the Executive Order, will work to pay CSU employee compensation with alternative sources other than state general fund."

The Chancellor's message in its entirety can be accessed here.

Q: I read a newspaper article which reported that in the event of a state budget impasse, the wages of state employees, including the California State University, may be temporarily reduced to minimum wage until the budget is approved. Is this true?

(Updated July 2): Chancellor Charles B. Reed stated in a communication to CSU employees, "We want to let CSU employees know that we have received confirmation from the State Controller's office that our employees' compensation is not impacted by this order. Employees will receive their regular paychecks and can expect their normal compensation." The communication also states that the CSU intends to pay its employees with alternative revenue sources other than state general funds if it becomes necessary. The Chancellor's message in its entirety can be accessed here.

(Updated July 1): Media sources reported that the the Department of Personnel Administration planned to issue a pay letter ordering the Controller to reduce state employee salaries to the minimum wage. In a statement, the Controller, responded that absent a final court ruling, he will work to protect the State’s finances and pay full wages earned by state employees.

As recently reported in the Sacramento Bee, the Governor in 2008 took action to implement a 2003 California Supreme Court decision which limited wages paid to state employees during a budget impasse. The State Controller refused to comply, however, and the Department of Personnel Administration filed a lawsuit to compel the Controller to comply with the Governor’s directive. Like many other complex legal cases, this matter may be held up in the court system for some time. Until the courts make a final decision, CSU’s Human Resources advises us that the CSU is unable to determine what impact, if any, this may have on CSU employees. The CSU will continue to monitor the case. Members of the campus community will be kept apprised of any new developments, or may follow up with our Office of Human Resources if they have additional questions or concerns. (A June 21 court hearing on this matter resulted in no new developments in this matter.)

Q: The Governor’s January budget proposal was released on January 8, 2010. What does it propose for the CSU?

The Governor's initial budget proposal for 2010-11 proposes to restore $305 million to the CSU base budget, and provide an additional $60.6 million for enrollment growth.

The budget reductions in 2009-10 included $305 million in one-time cuts that the State had committed to restore in 2010-11. The Governor's proposed budget would restore that base budget funding. The $60.6 million for enrollment growth is contingent upon the State receiving a threshold amount in federal aid for other state programs.

Overall, the Governor's budget proposal seeks to close a $19.9 billion deficit over the next 18 months through a variety of budget cuts, shifts in spending, and assumed new federal funds. However, the Governor's budget proposal puts a priority on protecting education.

More information on the Governor's January budget proposal is available at:

Q: I have heard that the CSU released additional previously received Federal Stimulus Funds to the campuses. How much money did we get and what will it be used for?

In October, 2009, the CSU received a one-time Federal stimulus allocation, which allowed the CSU to make available trust dollars (monies from state support and student fee revenue) previously set aside to cover employee payroll. 

At that time, the CSU released approximately one-third of the amount received to the campuses for additional course sections and student support services to help students make progress toward graduation. The funds were stipulated as one-time only, to be used only in ways that do not create ongoing spending. The balance was reserved by the CSU for use in the event of further budget cuts. 

The allocation to Cal State Northridge in October 2009 was $1.8 million. These funds were used on our campus to offer additional sections of courses students need to graduate, to address needs with S-Factor courses, for supplemental instruction, for the Center on Disabilities and National Center on Deafness for support of students with disabilities and students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and for academic advisement and support to students.

In February, 2010, the Chancellor announced that that the CSU will allocate the remaining $50.9 million to the campuses for use in 2010-11. These are again one-time funds to be used in ways that do not create ongoing spending. The CSU's intent is that the funds will be used to offer additional course sections during 2010-11 to help move students toward graduation and to support other efforts to improve graduation rates. Cal State Northridge's allocation is 7.2 percent of this total, or $3,664,800. 

While Cal State Northridge will add course sections, we must do so in a way that is consistent with our enrollment target for 2010-11 defined by the Chancellor's Office, which is reduced by 10.8 percent in comparison with our 2009-10 enrollment target. We will also consider using some of the funds to support our graduation improvement initiatives.

Q: When will we know more about the 2010-11 budget?

The campus is planning now for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 budget years, but with incomplete information. We received the first substantive information about the likely 2010-11 state budget in January 2010 with the Governor’s January budget projection. (See question and answer above about the January budget proposal.)

The January projection provides the starting point for the CSU’s budget planning process. It is typically a good indicator of where the CSU will end up at the conclusion of the budget deliberation process, but in actuality it is just the beginning. We then get more information with the Governor’s May revision based on updated and more accurate revenue projections (* see May Revise section below). A finalized state budget, approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, is due in June. However, a budget agreement and finalized budget is often not reached until later in the summer or even in the fall.

In planning for 2010-11 and 2011-12 at Cal State Northridge, we are using a variety of budget scenarios with alternative assumptions and forecasts. We will revise these as we receive more certain information.

At present we know that, at minimum, we will need to reduce our base budget for 2010-11 by the $19 million we achieved in savings from furloughs in 2009-10 (a one-time savings in 2009-10 that needs to be achieved through other means going forward), plus another $2-4 million in projected cost increases for health care premiums and utilities. We also know the Chancellor's Office has reduced our campus enrollment target by 10.8% (2,787 FTES). We have developed an enrollment management plan to bring our enrollments down to these new targets.

It remains unknown whether the CSU, and in turn our campus, will receive restored funding as recommended by the Governor.

At its meeting in June 2010, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a 5 percent student fee increase to take effect for the Fall 2010 semester. The State Assembly budget committee proposal also calls for additional state revenue to make up the difference between this 5 percent increase and previously anticipated revenue equivalent to a 10 percent fee increase. (The Governor's January budget proposal and "May revise" both assumed revenue to the CSU equivalent to a 10 percent fee increase, and the CSU Board of Trustees previously asked the state to provide new revenue equivalent to a 10 percent fee increase.) If the committee's proposal is honored, these revenues will almost offset the revenue reduction from our lowered enrollment.

In summary, at this time, both the amount of possible budget reduction from the state and the amount of possible new revenue from the state remain unknown. For this reason, the Cal State Northridge divisional vice presidents continue to develop budget plans using a variety of assumptions and forecasts, and are continuing to reduce expenditures appropriate to their divisions. In anticipation of likely scenarios, each division has planned for base budget reductions of approximately 5 percent. Many significant cost-saving measures have already been realized (see Budget Suggestions section below). The campus anticipates closing any remaining budget gap (if necessary) with one-time money from central reserves.

Q: I read that the CSU Board of Trustees recently approved a 5 percent student fee increase to take effect for the Fall 2010 semester. How does this decision affect the budget planning for Cal State Northridge?

The CSU Board of Trustees recently approved a 5 percent student fee increase for undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. This is less than the anticipated 10 percent student fee increase or buyout from the state. (The Governor's January budget proposal and "May revise" both assumed revenue to the CSU equivalent to a 10 percent fee increase, and the CSU Board of Trustees previously asked the state to provide new revenue equivalent to a 10 percent fee increase.) However, the State Assembly budget committee has proposed that additional state revenues be provided the CSU to make up the difference between this 5 percent fee increase and the previously anticipated 10 percent fee increase or buyout. As a result, the campus anticipates no change in revenue projections

The campus budget planning provides for the campus meeting its obligations through new revenue provided by the 5 percent fee increase, additional state money as proposed by the State Assembly budget committee (equivalent to buying out a 5 percent fee increase), a 5 percent base budget reduction in each campus division, projected savings from the 10.8 percent enrollment reduction, and closing any remaining gap (if necessary) with one-time money from central reserves. 

Q: Will there be additional student fee increases?

We do not know. However, the CSU Board of Trustees intends, at its November 2010 meeting, to review whether adequate resources have been provided to the CSU by the Legislature and Governor in the 2010-11 Budget Act and, on the basis of that review, determine whether additional fee actions merit consideration.

“MAY REVISE” (MAY 14, 2010):

Q: On May 14, the Governor released his “May revise.” What does it recommend for the CSU?

Governor Schwarzenegger’s May Revision of the state budget, based on more accurate revenue projections, continues to include the proposed restoration of $305 million to the California State University’s 2010-11 budget, as well as an additional $60.6 million to support enrollment growth across the CSU’s 23 campuses. 

The $305 million would serve to backfill a "one-time" reduction to the CSU budget for 2009-2010. The $60.6 million would fund the expansion of enrollment.  In the governor’s January proposal this additional enrollment funding was contingent upon the state receiving a threshold amount in federal aid for other state programs. The May Revision removes this contingency. In addition, the Governor's May budget revision proposal includes the restoration of new competitive CalGrant awards. 

Even with this proposed funding, the CSU’s level of state funded support remains well below that of previous years. Since 2007-08, the CSU has seen a reduction of $625 million in state support. 

More information is available at:


Q. Will enrollment targets at campuses be modified?

The CSU is funded by FTES enrollment. With funding reduced, enrollment targets are being reduced. At a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on July 7, 2009, it was announced that the CSU will look to reduce its student enrollment by 32,000 full-time equivalent students systemwide for 2010-11.

Cal State Northridge was subsequently informed that our enrollment target for 2010-11 will be 22,946 FTES, which represents a 10.8 percent decrease from our 2009-10 enrollment target of 25,733 FTES.

Q: What is our enrollment plan for the coming academic years?

An enrollment management plan has been developed for 2010–11 and 2011–12.

Q: Will Cal State Northridge accept new transfer students for spring 2011? 

The CSU announced on August 31, 2010 that the application period for spring 2011 will remain open until September 27, 2010. This includes Cal State Northridge. The CSU’s traditional application cycle for admission in the spring term is August 1 through August 31.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the 2010-11 state budget, however, the acceptance of new students for spring 2011 remains contingent on restored state funding. (Last year, as part of the overall strategy to address budget reductions, the CSU closed spring 2010 admissions system-wide. However, the Governor’s proposed budget for 2010-11 includes restoration of $305 million to the CSU budget, and an additional $60.6 million that would fund enrollment expansion.) 

After opening the application cycle on August 1, CSU campuses, including Cal State Northridge, began the eligibility review process to admit qualified students in the event of a restored state budget or, alternatively, hold applications pending final passage of a late budget. 

New students who have applied for admission to the spring term will be notified by campuses shortly after September 27, 2010 regarding the status of their applications. Should the CSU not receive a restoration of funding and not be able to admit new students for spring 2011, applicants may request their admission application be changed to fall 2011 or may request that their application be withdrawn and the application fee be refunded.


For details about the State Budget Furlough Program, please see the State Budget Furlough Program webpage and Implementation FAQs and the Faculty Furlough FAQs (PDF document) posted on the Faculty Affairs website.

Q: Will there be furloughs in 2010-11?

The furlough program was intended to be a one-year program for 2009-10. The program is in effect from July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010. Any furloughs beyond June 30, 2010 (i.e., for the 2010-11 fiscal year) would need to be negotiated at the system level between the CSU and the various bargaining units. Such discussion would need to be initiated either by union leadership or by the Chancellor’s Office leadership. Furloughs cannot be imposed by either party unilaterally, and whether to have furloughs is not a decision made by individual campuses.


Q: The campus community was asked in Fall 2009 to make suggestions on the Campus Budget Suggestion Website and in various other forums. What types of suggestions were made, and what is being done with these suggestions?

Numerous suggestions were offered in response to the following three areas:

  • Ways to reduce or eliminate expenditures to save money in the current fiscal year.
  • Longer-term administrative or technology changes to create structural savings to our base budget over the next three years.
  • Adjustments to enrollment policies to save money or generate additional revenue.

Suggestions offered by members of the campus community include actions which can be implemented personally by individuals. These include taking care to turn off lights and power down computers, and using technology to reduce the amount of paper used in offices and in teaching classes. Other suggestions are specific to the functions and activities of various departments and campus units, and some are University-wide in scope.

The suggestions were analyzed and grouped into categories and subcategories, as shown in the document linked here.

Then the verbatim suggestions, organized by category, were distributed through the divisional vice presidents to those campus units best able to evaluate the merits of the various department-level and University-wide suggestions, and which would take the lead on implementation. Some require expenditure of resources in the short-term to achieve savings in the long-term. It must be considered whether the required short-term expenditures are too much for the University to absorb at this time. In all cases, we must ensure that eliminating or changing a practice in a particular area of the University does actually result in cost savings and does not have a severe unintended consequence on other parts of the University.

While this consultation and evaluation process remains ongoing, numerous suggestions are already in the process of implementation. The following are a few examples:

  • We are installing a computerized irrigation control network, linking to a weather station and systems across campus. The network allows watering patterns to be adjusted based on soil saturation, rain and wind conditions, and is anticipated to reduce annual water consumption by 56 million gallons.
  • We have been approved to participate in a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power incentive program providing for the installation of 200 waterless urinals to replace existing units that do not use low-flow technology. This will reduce annual water consumption by 8 million gallons.
  • All divisions have limited hiring by holding many positions vacant, and have reconfigured work to allow for fewer positions.
  • All divisions have limited and will continue to carefully consider all purchases, and have deferred the start of many projects.
  • We have migrated student email from Mirapoint to Gmail, and faculty email from Mirapoint to Exchange, for substantial savings.
  • We have simplified or eliminated many campus events. For example, the Faculty Retreat in January is being held on campus, as was the Chairs and Deans Retreat prior to the beginning of the fall semester. We did not hold the annual President’s picnic or the U Matter-dor Fair, and we found ways to economize on the President’s Convocation and other campus events.
  • A greater number of publications have reduced paper distribution in favor of greater use of electronic distribution. These include Northridge magazine, Did You Know, annual holiday cards sent out by the University, and numerous publications and newsletters distributed by individual departments.
  • Campus dining facilities, including the newly remodeled Geronimo’s in the student residence hall area, are “trayless.” Eliminating the use of trays conserves water and energy for cleaning and reduces cost of food by reducing the amount of food waste.
  • We have grown moderately the numbers of nonresident students enrolled. These international and out-of-state students pay higher student fees, which provides additional revenue.
  • We are shifting the summer semester to self-support through the Tseng College of Extended Learning.