Courtesy of Alexander Grey

President Coley leads Campus Budget Conversation

By Matthew Acosta, Nov 01, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona hosted its annual campus conversation on the university budget on Oct. 26 to discuss the implementation of the state spending plan and the university initiative plan.

The meeting gave insight into future funding and concerns the university would be facing as there has been a growing trend of high school students choosing not to attend a four-year university or choosing to go to a community college.

“More than one in four high school seniors from the class of 2022 say they have changed their educational plans following the pandemic, with less than half now planning to attend a four-year college,” said University President Soraya M. Coley. “While evidence is clear that lifetime earnings for college graduates far exceed those of high school graduates, colleges have not been successful in compellingly converting these benefits and long-term return on investment.”

CPP faces an upward battle in the coming years with many factors that will be limiting the number of students that the university will be able to recruit to the school.

According to the California Department of Finance, there is an expected decline of 10.4% of high school graduates after the year 2025 due to a lack of births in the United States in the past couple of decades.

The increase in competition involving community colleges, the University of California system and the rise in attraction to attend out of state Universities has forced CPP to double-down on their in-state recruiting efforts.

“The gap between Southern California and other counties will continue to narrow, making the competition an increasingly smaller pool of students in the state even more intense,” said Coley. “We know we must look internally and externally as we shape our future strategies.”

The updates on the 2022-2023 fiscal year also reported the California State University was the beneficiary of an additional $42.5 million of tuition revenue that would be collected by the campuses.

One of the bigger takeaways from the previous budget is the drastic drop in revenue from tuition which was decreased by $17 million in the 2021-2022 fiscal year due to low enrollment at the university last year.

This upcoming fiscal year the CSU will rely on the state to provide 59% of the funding while the campus tuition and other fees will provide the other 49%.

Vice President for Administration and Finance Ysabel Trinidad presented how some of the large state fund would be used in the upcoming year at CPP.

“The state provided $404.8 million for facility and infrastructure investments, $497 million to fund nine campus student housing projects, $13 million for other systemwide investments and $42.2 million on other campus specific investments,” said Trinidad. “Overall, the state approved an allocation of $1.08 billion dollars in one-time funds.”

According to Carol Lee, assistant vice president for Budget, Planning and Analysis, although CPP has been hit hard by the pandemic, low enrollment and the projected decrease in high school graduates, the CPP budget has bounced back for the upcoming fiscal year.

Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona

“Our goal is to create a balanced and sustainable ongoing budget that supports the university’s strategic direction and support of student success,” said Trinidad. “The good news is our general fund is balanced with no structural deficit.”

The meeting was also the platform to for the administration to announce that CPP will be participating in the Learning-Aligned Employment Program.

This is a new state funded work study program that is set in place to both help the economy recover from the pandemic and provide students with new opportunities to earn money and experience in career fields that students may have future interest in.

“LAEP will be a game changing opportunity for our students who so often need employment to support education and their families,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs, Jennifer Brown. “The program promotes equity by giving priority to vulnerable populations, helping students bridge the gap between college and the fulfilling career in their chosen discipline.”

Coley turned to the aid of the campus community to give thoughts on how university administration can do their best to improve their tactics in promoting the campus to prospective students.

“This is the first of many conversations we will need to have as a campus community in the coming months about how we position Cal Poly Pomona to be successful,” said Coley

Those interested in viewing the campus conversation on the CPP budget can do so on the Office of the President website.

Feature image courtesy of Andrew Grey

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