Dear colleagues --
I am writing to inform you that some changes will be necessary to Humboldt State's 2014-15 budget plan, which was approved in the spring. Based on updated information from the Chancellor's Office, allocations of state funds to the campuses will be lower than previously estimated.
A primary factor in this change is that the CSU was not successful in efforts to get an additional $95 million beyond what the Governor had proposed in his budget, despite public commitments of support from many legislators. The bottom line is that HSU's budget plan was based on a projected allocation of approximately $1.9 million more than we are now expecting.
Members of the University Resources and Planning Committee have been informed of this change, and the vice presidents and I will be consulting with that group soon about ways to address this adjustment. More details are available in a report by the campus Budget Office, available here.
California's budget, particularly for higher education, is subject to short-term economic changes and swings in political priorities, making final state allocations difficult to predict. Some states fund public higher education using more historical data, but our state uses an approach that is targeted, as much as possible, to the current academic and fiscal year. This methodology is more responsive and potentially more flexible, but it can also create a more fluid fiscal situation. Ultimately, HSU's actual allocations will never be exactly what we estimated, and they often change in the middle of the fiscal year.
For now, I have asked the vice presidents to explore strategies and scenarios for various types of reductions during the current year – as well as thinking creatively about how to identify additional resources. I have also asked that the University Resources and Planning Committee be involved as soon as practical. We will need to seek efficiencies and explore whether some initiatives can be delayed. We do have budget reserves that could be used, if necessary, and this change comes at a time when we are beginning to see improvements in higher education funding. The reductions we are contemplating are nothing like the steep reductions that occurred during the depths of the recent recession. We have already begun investing resources in areas that will help generate future support for the University, including distance education, expanded student recruitment, retention initiatives, sponsored programs, and University advancement. Through planning, clear communication, and collaboration, we will manage these changes and position the University for the future.
I am committed to remaining focused on HSU's core mission and values. We have new and continuing students about to arrive on campus for fall classes, and they are depending on us. Even as we consider possible efficiencies and expenditure reductions, we need to make sure we provide our students the classes and support that they need to be successful.
Thank you for helping make Humboldt State such a special place!
Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.