Gov. Jerry Brown recently released his state budget proposal for the 2014-15 year, outlining a plan to allocate $12.8 billion to higher education. According to the budget, the University of California (UC) system would receive an increase of $142.2 million next year in state funding — an addition to the $2.8 billion that the university has been allocated in the 2013-14 school year.
The tuition and fee revenues at the UC are expected to remain the same under the proposed state budget at $3.1 billion. Additionally, the Brown administration hopes that the funds allocated to the university will be used to make college more affordable and encourage students to graduate within four years.
“This is a wise allocation of the state funds,” stated the governor when he introduced his budget proposal Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. “(The budget) helps students in two ways: by holding tuition flat and by encouraging the university and the colleges to enable students to get through within four years instead of the much longer period that seems to be the increasingly order of the day.”
Last year’s enacted budget allocated a total of $2.8 billion to the UC. This year’s proposed $142.2-million increase would raise the funds to nearly $3.0 billion. If agreed upon, this would mark the third straight year of funding increases for the UC.
Thus far, some officials have applauded the plan.
“UC appreciates Gov. Brown’s commitment to full funding for the second year of his multi-year budget plan for the university,” UC Vice President for Budget and Capital Resources Patrick Lenz stated in a press release.
“California teachers appreciate the governor’s continued commitment to public education and to repaying the billions of dollars that had been cut from students, schools and colleges,” read a statement from the California Teachers Association.
Since the 2007-08 school year, the University of California has faced massive budget cuts in the general fund pool that have totaled approximately $464 million. In 2008, the UC received as much as $3.3 billion in state funds. In that same timespan, the UC increased fees and tuition from $6.6 billion in the 2007-08 school year to $12.2 billion in the 2013-14 school year.
Some critics of the budget proposal state that funding to the UC fell short. In November, the UC Board of Regents passed a preliminary budget that called for an increase of $267 million — $120.9 million more than what the state budget actually plans to allocate.
Gov. Brown’s $155 billion proposed budget allocates a grand total of $106.8 billion for general fund spending — an 8 percent increase from a year ago. Additionally, some of the money would be used pay $11 billion in state debts and would also put $1.6 billion in the state’s rainy day fund.