CSU Chancellor addresses legislators on California Master Plan for Higher Education
Chancellor: State Needs to Renew its Commitment to Higher Education
The state's Master Plan remains a viable framework for California's public higher education system, according to CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, but the state needs to renew its investment in higher education.
Reed, along with University of California President Mark Yudof and California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott spoke at an information hearing of the Joint Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education Monday in Sacramento. The hearing was the first of four being held as state lawmakers review the Master Plan to determine whether its original goals of providing access to a quality college education are still serving the needs of the state's student population and the workforce.
"The future of California is tied to its students," Reed emphasized, but said the state's support for CSU students has steadily declined. In the past decade, state funds per student have substantially decreased from $11,075 per student to $4,732. This has forced more reliance on student fees, with the average student fee revenue per student rising from $1,507 in 1990 to $4,022 in 2009.
"We didn't become the world's eighth largest economy by accident," Reed remarked, commenting that the Master Plan and California's investment in education have produced the state's highly educated workforce. The CSU graduates more than 92,000 students annually, the majority of whom go on to work in the state's most competitive industries such as agriculture, engineering, technology, hospitality and entertainment.
Without adequate funding, the CSU has been forced to reduce enrollment, raise fees and reduce programs and student services at a time when it should be producing even more students for the workforce, Reed said. The state needs to reinvest in the Master Plan, he stressed, and focus on educating the state's underserved students.
The CSU, Reed said, has committed to cut in half by 2014 the current achievement gap for African American, Native American, Latino and Pacific Islander students. The CSU has developed several innovative programs and partnerships to better prepare underserved students for college, such as the Super Sunday outreach program with African American churches, the statewide Road to College bus tour, the summer Algebra Institutes for middle school students and the 11th grade Early Assessment test.