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SDSU Raises Cash To Insulate Campus From State Cuts

As state leaders discuss how to cope with the possibility of more state cuts, SDSU and others turn to raising their own revenues.

— If voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative in November, Cal State and the University of California will each take a $250-million hit. Plans to cope with the possible cuts were discussed by each system’s leaders this week.

San Diego State leaders, like many at public universities across California, are not putting all their eggs in the governor’s tax-increase basket. If voters reject the temporary sales- and income-tax hikes in Proposition 30, SDSU will have lost more than $115 million in state funding since 2008.

To combat those losses, the university is increasing out-of-state enrollment, raising fees for extended-studies programs and is in the middle of its first campus-wide, multiyear fundraising campaign. SDSU President Elliot Hirshman said that campaign has raised $330 million so far, $71 million of that just this year.

“Those are funds that come to the university that support our students through scholarships, our faculty through endowments and through programmatic support, and help us carry out our community engagement projects," he said.

These efforts can carry the campus through a period of financial turmoil for the state, but may not work as permanent solutions.

“We’re trying of course to create new models as we go along," Hirshman said. "But we’re hopeful that in the longer term there will be more support from the state and we’ll return to historical levels.”

If voters reject the governor’s proposition, mandatory tuition increases will likely go into effect for CSU and UC students no matter what steps campuses take to stabilize their own finances.

UC regents agreed to freeze tuition at current levels if Proposition 30 passes, but if it doesn't they are considering a 20.3 percent increase that would start in January.

CSU students would likely see tuition rise $150 per semester, or about 5 percent if the proposition fails.

California-resident undergraduates enrolling at SDSU this fall will already be paying tuition and fees more than twice as high as students who enrolled in the fall of 2007. This fall's UC San Diego resident undergrads will be paying nearly 60 percent more than those who enrolled in the fall of 2007.

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