President's Office

A Message from President Harrison about the CSU Budget

July 19, 2012

Dear faculty and staff members,

As you may be aware from media reports, the state budget signed into law this month provides essentially the same funding to the CSU this year as last. However, this budget is contingent on voter support in November for the governor’s tax initiative. If that initiative fails, the CSU will face a $250 million “trigger” cut, bringing the total reduction in state support to the CSU since 2007-08 to almost $1.2 billion.

With the possibility of a $250 million trigger cut in mind, the CSU Board of Trustees discussed some difficult budget choices at their meeting this week. Two general strategies were discussed – one which includes a triggered tuition fee increase; and a second which would reduce enrollment rather than raising tuition fees. Both scenarios include creating a new tier of tuition fees and the use of one-time resources.

Most potentially painful to CSU employees, both scenarios include possible reductions in personnel costs to be achieved either through negotiated salary reductions, or alternatively through greater cost-sharing of health benefit premiums. Both means of reducing personnel costs would require collective bargaining with the various unions.

A presentation from the Board of Trustees meeting outlining these contingency strategies may be found at:

These are clearly difficult alternatives to consider made necessary by a severe budget situation. I want to emphasize that no final decisions have yet been made. The CSU is not expected to make final decisions on a contingency budget plan until the next Board of Trustees meeting in September.

I know that reports and rumors about the state and CSU budgets can be a source of anxiety, particularly when possible salary reductions are under discussion. As in the past, we will strive to keep you informed as the situation evolves, and you can expect follow-up communications from Vice President for Administration and Finance Tom McCarron or myself when more definitive information is available, as well as updates on the Campus Budget News website. 

Of course, CSU leaders including the CSU presidents continue to advocate on behalf of the CSU to elected officials locally and in Sacramento. I encourage you to join the university's Legislative Network to stay updated on the latest budget news from Sacramento and to let your voice be heard.

We are fortunate that CSUN’s growing reputation, prudent fiscal management, and cultivation of non-state revenues have allowed the campus to persevere through the past five years of budget challenges. In the event the governor’s tax proposal does not pass, this campus has planned for 2012-13 and I have full confidence in our ability to continue to serve our students well. I truly appreciate the hard work and dedication of our staff and faculty.


Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D. 
President, California State University, Northridge