Welty Weighs in on Looming CSU Cuts

FRESNO, Calif.

While Fresno State students gear up for the fall semester ahead, the state's top leaders are dealing with the grim realities of California's budget dilemmas.

President John Welty said, "That is the fundamental question voters face in November, are we going to invest in public higher education so that we allow students to complete a degree."

Welty is concerned over the cuts that could happen if taxpayers say no to proposition 30. If the measure fails, trustees have two alternatives to handle the $250 million cuts.

One way would be a shared pain among all, which would include a $150 fee increase for students beginning in January 2013 and a 2 ½ reduction in employee salaries across system.

The second plan would be no fee increases, but a five percent pay reduction for employees across the system including university presidents.

Welty said, "We would have to reduce enrollment that would lead to 750 fewer employees across the state, roughly five-percent of those would be here at Fresno State."

Bob Smart is the parent of an incoming student and says the fee would affect more than just the students.

"But it's also going to shift to families, parents," Smart said. "Those are the people that the money ultimately is coming from."

Incoming freshman Anayeli Ayala is like 60 percent of Fresno State students who rely on financial aid to fund her education. But if tuition fees go up, the difference will need to come from somewhere else.

"I feel like that's scary because it holds a lot of responsibility for us in order to help pay for school and we are going to have to find other ways to get more money," Ayala said.

President Welty says the Central Valley lags behind the other state schools when it comes to students completing degrees. He believes more college degrees could help turn the economy around. The CSU Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the plans in September.

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