Each month a different CSU hosts the CSSA meeting. Every school sends a delegation to the meetings, and each school has a vote at the table. Each school builds their delegation differently, Sac State has a dedicated CSSA representative (me) and also sends the ASI President.
March was hosted by CSU Northridge. It is one of the largest campuses in the CSU system and has nearly 30,000 students. I embarked on the trip with ASI President Monica Cortez, and ASI OGA Director/CSSA Chief of Staff Sarah Couch. The meeting held a lot of discussions surrounding online education, budget and fees for CSSA, and state legislation affecting higher education in California. This will be a brief summary of my trip; however’ my full report to the ASI Board of Directors is available here.
Online education is a HUGE topic in California right now. Every magazine and news article about online education include something about California in it. I would argue to say that we are at the forefront of bridging the gap between traditional education and online education. Governor Jerry Brown has dedicated 10 million dollars to online education in his proposed budget and there are a lot of questions surrounding where that money will go and what it will be put towards. There is currently a handful of bills in the state legislature, all voicing support for several ideas for online education; however, there still seems to be very little information on just what an “online education system” for California would look like.
CSU Board of Trustees Vice Chair, Lou Monville sat down with the CSSA board at this meeting, and held a Q&A for the student leaders on issues with the Board of Trustees were working on. I asked Lou (who is a very, very nice guy by the way) directly on this question of online education. He echoed what everyone already knew, which was that nothing had been fully established yet. However, when I asked him in the CSU Board of Trustees would consider partnering with private companies like Udacity to provide this online education platform, he informed me that it had not been ruled out as a possibility yet.
CSSA Due Rates
For the last few months, the CSSA board has been discussing due rates for the association and a potential increase. Currently rates sit at 62 cents, per student/per school/per year. This means that in order to be a member school of the association, each school must pay CSSA 62 cents for every student on its campus. To put it into perspective, other student organizations charge much more for their student associations. For example, UCSA which is the student association for all of the UC campuses in California, charges anywhere from $1.50 per student/per campus/per year to $7.50. This rate differs for each campus but it is clear that each school pays a lot more than any CSU campus does. Another example, United Council is the student association for University of Wisconsin students. They are currently at a rate of 3 dollars, per student/per campus/per semester.
With all of the information provided, considering CSSA serves over 400,000 students, it is impressive that CSSA has been able to have the reach and impact it has with such a small budget. With the current budget and due rate projections, there has been concern that several programs, including Greenovation, and federal advocacy, we’re going to experience cuts if more money was not invested into CSSA. This comes as several mandatory expenses were rising for the association, including insurance and leasing terms for office space.
After the board postponed the vote for an increased due rate at the February meeting, each campus met at the March meeting with a specific zone of comfort that they would be willing to allow dues to increase. I met with the ASI VP of Finance, Lauren Carpio, to discuss what would be possible from Sac States perspective. Sarah Couch also met with ASI executive director, Patricia Worley, to further discuss the issue. From the conversations, Lauren put together a resolution for the ASI Board of Directors to vote on that would express Sac State ASI’s support for an increase in CSSA due rates to no more than 72 cents over the next 3 years (the board votes on due rates for the following 3 years as every campus signs a 3 year MOU with CSSA).
The CSSA Board voted to increase due rates for the next three years to .65, .66, .67, respectively.
During this meeting, CSSA also approved its stances on over 20 legislative bills passing through the California State Legislature. These bills were all vetted by CSSA’s Governmental Relations Team in great detail before it was presented to the board. After several clarifying questions were asked, the board approved the positions for the legislative bills that were proposed. It should be noted that there are over 60 bills currently being “watched” by the CSSA Governmental Relations team that will be brought to the CSSA board’s consideration as the GR team feels it is needed. You can find the full list that was approved by the CSSA board here.
My March trip was incredible. It is an absolute honor to be able to work with such a dedicated group of individuals in California and at Sac State that want to accomplish so much good for generations to come after them. I look forward to my next meeting hosted by the sunny San Diego State on May 3-5, 2013.