HSU Slashes $9 Million From Budget; Third Street Gallery Eliminated; Cost Cutting on Children’s Center


Humboldt State University [Photo by Oliver Cory]

Press release from Humboldt State University:

Humboldt State University has released its 2018-19 budget, which is focused on addressing a growing budget deficit while also ensuring students have the courses and support to make progress toward graduating.

In a memo to the University community, President Lisa Rossbacher acknowledged that the budget will be challenging to implement. However, she stressed that it shields students as much as possible from the brunt of reductions while also putting the University on the path to a balanced and sustainable budget.

Going forward, the President said, the budget plan will allow the University to invest in important priorities.

“This is a Students First budget, reflecting our shared commitment to providing students with an outstanding educational experience as we move forward with the difficult decisions necessary to achieve fiscal stability,” President Rossbacher wrote.

The new budget includes plans for addressing ongoing shortfalls by reducing $9 million in spending over the next two years. The plan was adopted after more than a year of extensive consultation and feedback across campus. Actions to achieve more than half the reductions have already been made and one-time funding will bridge the remaining reductions with a longer planning and implementation timeframe.

Savings by broad category for the next two years include: $1.39 million in academic support, primarily by eliminating vacant positions; $740,000 in student services, including by reducing the size of international programs and shifting some costs to grant support; $2.75 million in institutional support which includes reductions to staffing and funding in the President’s Office and in Institutional Effectiveness, as well as restructuring in Information Technology; and $1.12 million in operations and maintenance through staff reductions and restructuring.

The reductions also include $3 million to instructional activities, which is being achieved by more efficiently scheduling available classes, limiting elective courses, offering alternate courses for specific requirements, and similar efforts. Based on current plans, the Fall 2018 semester has 93 percent of the spaces in course sections that were offered in Fall 2017, a semester that had higher enrollment and in which course offerings exceeded demand. Choices were made after reviewing historic data and enrollment trends, and examining current course needs based on progress of current students.

The University will also move forward with closing the Third Street Gallery in Eureka, a decision the President describes as particularly difficult. The off-campus gallery has proven expensive to maintain, and while there has been donor support over time, it was not able to develop a sustained, diversified funding base. Some of the savings will be used to ensure students get a similar hands-on experience in galleries on campus, and the Art Department will be exploring new ways to increase community engagement.

The University received many comments about the future of the Children’s Center. As part of this budget plan, the University will seek to find savings in this area, while also maintaining access to childcare. A process has begun that will look at possible savings and new revenue, as well as organizational changes. Recommendations based on this review of the Center are expected in the fall semester.

The reductions outlined in the new budget plan are targeted, rather than across-the-board. They consider spending levels at campuses in the California State University system that have similar enrollment. HSU spending per student is higher, on average, than these peer campuses. In 2016-17, the latest comparable data available, the University spent $16,882 for each full-time equivalent student (FTES), compared to the $15,104 per FTES average at similar campuses.

Even with the reductions, the University will have an overall operating budget of about $135 million. The operating budget, made up primarily of tuition and state funding, is in addition to research efforts, which bring in approximately $26 million in grants each year, and self-supported operations such as Housing & Residence Life. Charitable gifts to the University total $5-$6 million annually, usually designated to support specific programs, and the endowment of just over $30 million distributes earnings of about $1.2 million each year for scholarships and programs.

In addition to reductions, the University’s budget planning continues strategic investments in student success. In recent years, examples of these investments have included efforts related to equity and diversity, expansion of student support services, creation of place-based learning communities, a new Center for Teaching and Learning, and new tenure-line faculty positions. Over the past three years, HSU has invested in 75 tenure-line faculty positions, which represents two-thirds of HSU’s new allocations during those years. An additional nine faculty-line positions will be added in Fall 2018.

More information about the University’s budget planning, including the final 2018-19 budget and budget FAQs, is available at the HSU Budget Office website.



  • The budget shortfall doesn’t affect the big shots though… Quote: “The 30 CSU executives include White, his staff and all the CSU presidents. After the raise, the average CSU executive will make $333,447 per year in salary for a total of $9.6 million. Salaries are just a chunk of the total compensation for the executives, which includes benefits and other pay, including housing compensation.” https://statehornet.com/2018/02/csu-executives-to-get-pay-raises-despite-potential-tuition-hike-funding-gap/

    • Thank you. The state uni system is a publicly funded system. 350k for a public school principal is too much.

    • Taurus Ballzhoff

      AND these idiots enrolled far more students than the system is able to house in Arcata. So if you want to attend a low-quality school and sleep in your car, choose HSU! OH, by the way, the services provided by the State College System are being severely cut by the dishonest, overpaid and incompetent administrators!

      Meanwhile, the salaries paid to folk who work for HSU, all the other State Colleges, and University of CA campuses, are ridiculously and un-competitively low, while the “CEO” at HSU makes WAY too much money for his obviously limited ability!

      Write to Jerry Brown, complain about the poorly operated Junior College in Arcata! If I was a student, I would go somewhere else!

      There are many well operated and affordable schools, outside California! Check them out!

    • It’s hard to tell what’s what about university salaries for instructional personnel. They usually work a 180 day year whereas full time for non instructional staff is usually over 260 days per year. There are also days off, sabbatical leaves, full time benefits, supplemental pay, facility use, research and publishing income, etc that is or can be applied. There are a lot of part time instructors as tenured instructors are very expensive. I think all CSU employees get the same benefit package of health care, vision and dental benefits, vacation days, pension, 401 (k), whether they work a school year (part time in hours) or full time.

      The Chancellor runs the whole CSU system of 23 campuses and 45,000 personnel. The rest of these relatively high paid individuals number about 30 campus presidents. Even highly paid, their salaries are a drop in the bucket of the budget of that system, averaging about 3 times the salary of a tenured faculty member, working 30% less scheduled hours.

      The whole government run university system is a morass of unaccountabilty. Although the Chancellor and the campus Presidents are trotted out as the villians of the problem, they are far from the only problems in a system burdened by perks and limited expectations of service by the instructional staff in general. An instructor can be a very good one but it is not a requirement to keep working.

  • They have to close their off campus gallery and just use one of their on campus galleries? How will the students survive without it though?

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    Better keep the kids in line. Can’t afford to get a racism/sexism/assault lawsuit.

  • Hahaha …. HSU sucks.

  • rossbacher makes close to half a million a year. check it out https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/search/?q=Lisa A Rossbacher

    greedy , hypocritical cunt.

    • ‘Mr Happy’ doesn’t sound too happy! 🙁
      First. Your description, Mr H, of Ms Rossbacher is offensive!
      Second. While I don’t support bloated salaries for administrators, did she demand for the specific amount (after she was chosen to lead HSU from a list of candidates)? Or is that customary for the position? Maybe you should be blaming the system, and not just the person who benefits from it!
      HSU is a great, innovative school. While more economic justice is needed…. Long may it live!

  • Fat ’n’ Happy

    Schools Should Stop Subsidizing Retirees
    Billions diverted from active teachers in California.


  • Yes the very fat cats at the top are “sad” but unaffected. Similar to the “health care” industry in that we are told they are “really helping us out” while they pocket huge salaries and perks and retirements at the cost of an evermore oppressed taxpayer. I say run these parasites out with pitchforks raised high and torches blazing!

  • Awesome investigative citizen journalists right here in this thread. Much love to all.

  • There are so many possibilities

    Is it possible to consolidate the entire State University system? Does HSU need to be a stand alone campus? Could Sonoma, Humboldt and Chico combine into one State University? Consolidate the undergraduate degrees. All have History degrees. Sociology and Psychology degrees and others. One campus would have History undergraduate degrees and so on. If a degree student numbers dips below a certain number the degree is physically combined with other campuses. Students would be directed to those campuses. If you just love living in Humboldt you would need to declare one of HSU degrees. Post secondary schools are not supposed to be based on area. One goes to school to obtain an education degree not because of its reputation for on and off campus social life. And does CR have room for offering more General Education classes? Has the powers to be become so entrenched they refuse to budge on thinking of alternative ideas. This is like ranchers and cowboys protecting their herds. And rather than decisions made locally have independent economic experts make the decisions. Take it out of the hands of local leaders. The entire system is absolved of blame as is happening on campus and in the community. Takes away the hurdles of, “no you can’t function without my position” mentality. And can we have a sports program without P.E. classes? Then the football team would have to pay for itself. Game tickets would be raised to meet the budget. The price of a ticket would quickly determine the support of the community. I don’t go to Stanford or UCLA games because I can’t afford the price of a ticket. Can’t afford a see HSU football game you can see the game on close circuit TV for $10 a ticket. There are venues all over the county. Today most of the attendees are students. Football, basketball, softball, soccer and the like would be managed similar to a professional sports except the players would not be paid.

  • What's in a definition?

    And change the name. Humboldt State University is a university in name only. They in no way fit the accepted definition of a university. Look at the structure of a defined university: UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, University of Oregon, any UC university, Michigan State, University of Alabama. HSU is a college and no more than that. They adopted the University in their title to give HSU a false university status. Since its inception is was named Humboldt College. Little has changed since then. What a real university does as research HSU barely scratches that surface. The number of PHd degrees HSU offers is zero. The number of law degrees HSU offers is zero. The number of medical degrees HSU offers is zero. The number of dental degrees HSU offers is zero. The number veterinarian degrees HSU offers is zero. Number of ophthalmology degrees HSU has zero (not even optometry). Pharmacology degrees HSU has zero. Most of HSU’s academic fields don’t even offer Master’s Degrees. Can you say glorified College of the Redwoods?

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