Brown attended Tuesday's Board of Trustees meeting, where the university system's budget was discussed, the Los Angeles Times reported. The governor's proposed budget would increase funding by $125 million, while officials had requested $372 million.
State funding for Cal State has fallen by $1 billion since 2008.
Cal State, with 23 campuses, is one of three state university systems in the state. Brown told the University of California regents last week they will also have to hold the line on tuition while receiving only small increases in state aid.
"It's a tight ship and it's going to get tighter," the governor said Tuesday. "We're going to have to do some very creative, very thoughtful, very careful adjustments."
Under the governor's plan, the Cal State system would get 4 percent to 5 percent increases in state aid for the next four years, with no tuition hikes.