Cal Poly is bracing for a grim fiscal year ahead that could see the state slash its funding by more than half in a worst-case scenario.
University President Jeffrey Armstrong spoke at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s Good Morning SLO event Thursday about the potentially severe budget impacts.
Armstrong said that Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal of a roughly 20 percent cut in state funds — assuming expiring tax extensions get on the ballot and are approved — could mean the university would receive about $99 million in state support in the upcoming fiscal year.
That compares with about $150 million in annual state support four years ago.
If the tax extensions don’t take place, state support would be about $79 million in 2011-2012.
The university already has carefully balanced cuts through student fee increases and by not filling vacant positions, reducing enrollment, fundraising, forming research partnerships and cutting some elective courses.
“We’ve been forced to do more with less and faculty and (staff members) have done a heroic job,” Armstrong said. “Some people, in a variety of departments, have taken on the work of two jobs.”
Armstrong said that if the tax extensions don’t happen, then the university likely will be forced to cut jobs on campus, but the university doesn’t expect layoffs given Brown’s current proposal that incorporates the tax extensions.
Cal Poly’s operating budget in 2011-2012 is expected to be $210 million compared with $230 million this year.
To provide more access to education with less money, the university has sought to graduate more students on time in recent years, freeing up more space for new students.
At the same time, Cal Poly has reduced the overall enrollment from 18,566 in fall 2007 compared with a projected 17,100 in fall 2011.
The university also is seeking to increase its out-of-state student enrollment by about 100 students this year.
Those students pay $226 per quarter unit in addition to the annual $5,826 fee for undergrads who are California residents.
Despite the budgetary outlook, Armstrong said he’s confident that Cal Poly’s education will remain first-rate and the university’s high level of learning will be maintained because of the hard work of those at Cal Poly.