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Senate Budget Subcommittee

 

Response to the Ensuring Success for California's Students: Creating a Sustainable Financial Model for the CSU

The Senate Budget Subcommittee of Sonoma State has read and discussed the “Ensuring Success for California’s Students” report and is providing the following feedback.

Guiding principle #4: We would like to include metrics of success that are consistent with the University’s educational mission. We are also concerned that an unbalanced emphasis on enrolled time to degree may reduce education quality and undervalue part-time students who are making steady but slow degree progress.

Guiding Principle #6: We recommend updating the tone of the document to acknowledge that the CSU is now a state-subsidized (vs. state-funded) institution. We would also encourage reflection about what it means to be a public university, as well as the implications of a higher proportion of our funding coming from private sources. Please consider the impacts that a greater reliance on grants and contracts will have on faculty and administrator workload.

Guiding Principle #11: We would like to know what checks and balances will be in place to ensure that financial decisions are made with responsive consultation, accountability, and transparency. We also recommend that the definition of transparency include a good-faith effort to make financial dealings comprehensible to laypersons. We additionally recommend that there is a process in place for ensuring that the money is being used according to University mission, as well as an appeals process available to students and other interested parties.

Financial Effectiveness: We strongly recommend that the work group formed includes faculty and student members.

The committee is concerned about the use of career earnings as a significant measure of student success (page 14). We understand the desire to demonstrate education as a prudent investment but worry that a singular focus on earnings would ignore other measures of education impact such as civic engagement. Since SSU is the sole CSU member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) many of our students are not singularly focused on earnings potential.