California State University plans enrollment hike with extra funds

LOS ANGELES — California State University plans to spend the projected $125.1 million in extra state funding for the 2013-14 academic year to expand enrollment and online courses, boost employee salaries and pay for increased energy and health benefit costs, officials said Monday.

The board of trustees is set to discuss the administration's proposal on Tuesday, said Assistant Vice Chancellor Robert Turnage during a conference call with the news media.

The additional money marks the first increase in state funding for the 23-campus system, one of the nation's largest public higher education systems with 420,000 students, after five years of budget cuts that resulted in layoffs, reduced admissions and tuition hikes.

The $125 million is slated as the first of five annual increases planned by Gov. Jerry Brown that will total $518 million by 2016-17.

Turnage said the biggest slice of the 2013-14 funding — $48.2 million — will pay for increased costs for employee health benefits, gas and electricity. It will also be used to cover the operating costs of new labs and facilities that are coming on line next fall.

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