Assemblymember Salas Convenes Oversight Hearing on CSU
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee; Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside), chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee; Senator Leyva (D-Chino), chair of the Senate Education Committee; and Assemblymember McCarty (D-Sacramento), chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 2 on Education Finance, held a joint oversight hearing to discuss the results and recommendations identified in the recent audit report regarding California State University (CSU).
The audit, which was approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in August 2018, found that CSU failed to fully disclose a $1.5 billion surplus, which consisted primarily of unspent tuition revenue. The CSU Chancellor’s Office did not disclose CSU’s surplus funds when consulting with students about tuition increases or when projecting CSU’s resources and needs for the Legislature. The audit also found that the Chancellor’s Office failed to ensure that campuses follow CSU policy that requires them to plan and implement alternate transportation options before building additional parking.
During the hearing, members of the committee received testimony from State Auditor Elaine Howle, CSU Chancellor Timothy White, CSU Trustee Jack McGrory, and Cal State Student Association Vice President Grace Pang.
During the discussion, Chancellor White committed to improving accountability and transparency surrounding CSU surplus funds and parking policies. The Chancellor also agreed to immediately begin implementing all of the recommendations presented in the State Auditor’s report.
“I am encouraged that Chancellor White and his colleagues have agreed to enact the State Auditor’s recommendations and I look forward to the CSU increasing transparency and accountability within their institutions,” said Assemblymember Salas. “It is unacceptable for tuition and student fees to be raised for the purpose of increasing the CSU’s reserves. Instead, we must help college students as they struggle with the burden of rapidly growing student loan debt, rising tuition and fees, transportation and parking costs, and the high costs of living in California.”
According to the findings outlined in State Auditor Elaine Howle’s report, it stated in regards to the $1.5 billion surplus that the “[CSU] did not disclose the surplus to students when consulting with them about raising tuition costs, thus undermining the opportunity state law affords the students to provide input and ask questions about the need for tuition increases.” When the report was released, CSU Chancellor Tim White issued a response to the audit disputing some of the findings.
Moving forward, Assemblymember Salas and the members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee will be monitoring the progress made by the CSU to ensure that the State Auditor’s recommendations are being implemented. The full audit report can be found here.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.