CSUF awaits Governor Newsom’s potential CSU budget increase

In Local News, News
Governor Newsom's new plan could give the CSU system as much as $500 million this year and $300 million over the next several years.
(Alex Bosserman / Daily Titan)

Well into the second month of the year the Cal State Universities are still looking forward to the potential changes Gov. Gavin Newsom will make to benefit the CSUs, including CSUF.

CSUs are looking for more attention from the new governor after his budget commitment of over $300 million to the CSUs, with the hopes of more funding and pushing legislation to benefit the campuses.

Rob Robinson, an assistant professor of political science at Cal State Fullerton, said the transition should not result in major changes because the Democratic Party will hold the seat. However, Robinson said he is hopeful that Newsom will allow for more funding.

“Brown had a history of being a little tighter with the purse strings than the average Democratic legislature would have wanted, and the sense that I get from talking to people is that Brown never funded the CSUs to the point that the CSUs thought they needed to be funded. The hope is that Newsom is going to be more willing to give more funding in general,” Robinson said.  

Students are also pushing for Newsom and legislators to notice the needs of the higher education systems in California.

“There’s a large amount of newly elected leadership, especially in Orange County, and we have a new Governor. This gives us the opportunity to put really important issues, such as higher education and the CSU system, on their radar,” said Meghan Waymire, CSUF’s Associated Students Inc. chief governmental officer.

Students and educators are calling for the attention of the California government, and are looking for their education to be supported and properly funded.

“Newsom has sent somewhat mixed signals. He’s said that he’ll govern like Brown and that legislators should restrain their desire to spend gobs of money, but for years he’s also signaled that he’s more liberal than Brown,” said Matthew Jarvis, associate professor and division chair of CSUF’s political science department.

Waymire said she hopes CSUs will receive sufficient funding to avoid major budget cuts.

Students, faculty, staff, and administration in the CSU are eager to see if this new leadership will step up and fight for a fully funded CSU so that we don’t have to undergo tuition increases, budget cuts, and enrollment decreases.Megan Waymire

The CSU’s state general budget for 2018-19 is $6.8 billion. Newsom’s budget proposal would dedicate another $300 million annually and a one time disbursement of $262 million. The additional funding would be split between all 23 CSU campuses towards 480,000 students, as well as halt any tuition increases in the next year.

The increase in the budget and the shift in the political climate in the state allows Newsom to create a larger funding proposal that the CSUs have been calling for.

“Mail-in ballots used to skew Republican, but in recent elections, not just 2018, they’ve skewed more and more Democratic. Part of this is because the Democratic Party in California has had their act together to encourage their voters to vote by whatever means they can, but part of it is also just the uptake in absentee voting,” Jarvis said.

Republicans who were in the lead on election night fell behind their Democratic counterparts when the Orange County Registrar of Voters began counting mail-in ballots.

“Nowadays, you can expect most Democrats to pick up two or more percentage points in the counting that comes after election night; in some races this year, that number may be as high as three or even four points,” Jarvis said.

In this year’s election, over 5 million votes were counted after election night, accounting for over 40 percent of the state, according to the Associated Press.

This change in pattern being beneficial for the CSU is questioned by Robinson, who is skeptical about how big of a change can be made when Republicans are still in the senate and in the Oval Office.

“The legislature was already heavily Democratic and it is going to stay heavily Democratic, that doesn’t seem like a big change to me. Nationally I don’t know what the election will do. Democrats in the house could make a difference, but with Trump in the White House and Republicans in the Senate, realistically I don’t know how big of a difference it will make,” Robinson said.

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