By Joshua Hernandez, Nov. 9, 2021

In the latest Campus Conversation on the university budget, held on Oct. 26, Cal Poly Pomona administrators discussed several initiatives which they plan to fund through the final budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, as well as a new increase in funds for both the California State University and Cal Poly Pomona.

After a brief introduction by University President Soraya Coley, Vice President of Administration and Finance Ysabel Trinidad presented the CSU system’s final budget summary for the 2021-2022 academic year. According to Trinidad, the total general fund budget of about $4.2 billion combined with about $3 billion in gross tuition and fees resulted in a total operating budget of about $7.3 billion.

As for Cal Poly Pomona itself, Associate Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Joe Simoneschi said that the university saw its general fund increase by approximately $20.5 million and by about $11.4 million in tuition and fees base, resulting in a total increase of about $31.9 million.

Because of this, Simoneschi said, “The university will be able to do a mid-year budget allocation while continuing to uphold our tenet of creating a fiscally healthy foundation for ensuring the education of our students and, as much as possible, the protection of resources during funding declines.”

Source: Campus Conversation on the CPP Budget (Nicolas Hernandez | The Poly Post)

From there, about $8.8 million would be allocated to divisional budget requests and Graduation Initiative 2025 funding, as well as for the expansion of services, personnel and supplies. About $2.2 million would also be allocated to support the hiring of tenure-track faculty for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Simoneschi added that the California Department of Finance and the California Legislative Analyst’s Office predict a continuous state tax revenue growth of 2-3% respectively though 2024 to 2025, which suggests the state should be able to invest more into the CSU in the upcoming 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Simoneschi also said that out of the total HEERF allocation the university received, only about $97.7 million out of $175.7 million was used.

Out of this $97.7 million, about $63.9 million was allocated for emergency grants for students, $1.8 million for faculty training and course conversion, $319,000 for safety as well as PPE and sanitizing efforts, $822,000 for technology, $493,000 for emergency pay, $10 million in refunds, $18.4 million for recovery of shortfall to the general fund and $2 million for recovery of shortfall to parking services.

Even with these expenses, the university is left with about $78 million to spend within one year of the date of receipt.

Trinidad also said the CSU saw total expenditures increase by about $550.2 million, with employer paid health premiums increasing by about $23.8 million, operations and maintenance of new facilities by $15.2 million, additional funding for California Assembly Bill 1460’s ethnic studies program by $16.3 million, $299 million in restored 2020-2021 funds, $150 million for the Graduation Initiative 2025, $43.8 for other program adjustments, systemwide priorities by $43.1 million and $45.1 million for compensation adjustments, keeping in line with the CSU’s general salary increase proposal.

The CSU also received approximately $976.3 million in one-time funds, with about $325 million allocated for deferred maintenance and infrastructure, $573 million for facility and infrastructure investments, legislative priorities at around $11.3 million and operations at $67 million.

Trinidad further broke down the operations’ allocation, stating that $30 million would fund emergency financial grants for low-income students, $10 million for faculty professional development and equal opportunity practices, $10 million for Monterey Bay’s Computing Talent Initiative, $10 million for San Francisco State’s Asian American Studies Department, $5 million for Project Rebound, and $2 million for a staff salary structure study and report.

Interim Provost Iris Levine explained how the additional ongoing funding from the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 will be invested into the new student success advising model by integrating the Career Center into CPP Connect, incorporating the cultural centers and support programs into the model and by the hiring of 12 new advisors across six of the university’s eight colleges.

According to Levine, “The goal of this advising restructuring is to develop an equitable, data driven advising infrastructure, which provides an assigned advisor for each student,” as well as to promote a more holistic and proactive approach to advising.

To this end, the university seeks to hire three student success advisors for the College of Engineering, three for the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, two for the College of Business Administration, two for the College of Science, one for the College of Environmental Design and one more for the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture.

By hiring more advisors, Levine hopes to lower the university advising ratio from one advisor per 1,034 students to one advisor per 692 students.

Levine also addressed the university’s commitment to increasing tenure-density to 67.7% by 2027. While hiring slowed and new searches were postponed due to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the university hopes to add 50 additional faculty searches per year.

Thirty-five departmental searches are currently underway, as well as 10 searches for the ethnic studies affinity cluster. In addition, Trinidad and Academic Affairs are seeking earlier approval for new funding so the university can begin tenure-track faculty searches 18 months prior to appointment.

Levine also talked about using the $812,000 in recurring funding received from the CSU to facilitate the hiring of tenure-track faculty to teach ethnic studies area F courses and establish a staff-supported office for ethnic studies, affinity scholarship and creative activities. This office would be led by a faculty fellow and help coordinate all efforts related to AB 1460.

One-time funds will also serve to hire the first ethnic studies affinity faculty cluster, and to develop new area F courses.

Levine said these initiatives aim to increase diversity in the curriculum and among the faculty and are expected to achieve a dramatic shift in campus culture, scholarship and teaching.

After Levine’s presentation, Vice President of Student Affairs Christina Gonzales explained that the university would use an allocation of $1.78 million to streamline its basic needs and mental health model, with the goal of giving students greater access to support programs.

The current model is decentralized and many departments operate separately, so the goal is to switch to a centralized model that would be easier to navigate.

With help from the Basic Needs Task Force, Gonzales said the university has begun a basic needs assessment, and that there will be a survey sent out to students from Nov. 8 to Nov. 30 to determine what students need most and how the university can plan accordingly.

“We know that if our students do not have a place to sleep or availability for nutritious meals, this can impact their academic success,” said Gonzales.

Those who wish to view the entire Campus Conversation on the CPP budget can do so here.

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