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Cal State plans enrollment hike with extra funds
March 19, 2013, 05:00 AM By Christina Hoag The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- California State University plans to spend the projected $125.1 million in extra state funding for the 2013-14 academic year to expand enrollment and online courses, boost employee salaries and pay for increased energy and health benefit costs, officials said Monday.

The board of trustees is set to discuss the administration's proposal on Tuesday, said Assistant Vice Chancellor Robert Turnage during a conference call with the news media.

The additional money marks the first increase in state funding for the 23-campus system, one of the nation's largest public higher education systems with 420,000 students, after five years of budget cuts that resulted in layoffs, reduced admissions and tuition hikes.

The $125 million is slated as the first of five annual increases planned by Gov. Jerry Brown that will total $518 million by 2016-17.

Turnage said the biggest slice of the 2013-14 funding -- $48.2 million -- will pay for increased costs for employee health benefits, gas and electricity. It will also be used to cover the operating costs of new labs and facilities that are coming on line next fall.

Officials plan to use $21.7 million to hire more instructors and student support staff to admit nearly 6,000 more students, $10 million to fund online courses to allow more students to enroll in high-demand, required courses and $7.2 million for incentives for campuses to develop ways to push more students to graduate on time.

Another $38 million will pay for average 1.2 percent raises to employees with the exception of senior administrators, including campus presidents and vice presidents, and the system chancellor and vice chancellors, Turnage said.

Executive pay has been a sore issue over the past year as some campus presidents were granted 10 percent salary hikes while tuition was increased and faculty went without contract-stipulated raises.

Turnage noted that the financial proposal was in its early stages and is subject to the state Legislature's final decision on the state budget.

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Contact the reporter at http://twitter.com/Christina Hoag.


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