Most of the layoffs will be of support staff and managers. Some part-time, temporary faculty might also lose their jobs.
The state's budget problems have already meant a year of furlough days, fewer class offerings and reduced enrollment. SJSU accepted about 5,000 fewer students in 2009-2010 as compared with 2008-2009.
Spokesperson Pat Lopes Harris says the university hopes the smaller enrollment means the layoffs will have less of an impact on students, but that there is no plan for absorbing the work of those laid-off.
"There will be a lot of readjustment and reorganization in the next three to four months as we figure out how to do what we've been doing with less people," Lopes Harris said.
The university says the cuts are devastating and unprecedented in what is an ongoing budget nightmare for the state's higher education system.
While enrollment continued to rise over the last five years, funding did not. That meant more students than classes available, student fees up 30 percent and last year, 24 furlough days.
Senior accounting major Michael Stary says his graduation is delayed a semester because he could not get a needed class.
"They're increasing the amount of tuition, decreasing the amount of teachers, teaching less, so it doesn't add up," Stary said.
Senior Ciara Pasta said, "It's a sad thing...whenever we have layoffs of staff or professors it doesn't make the campus stronger as a unit."