Here’s What California’s Proposed Budget Means for Higher Ed

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed 2024-2025 budget cuts some program funding and proposes revenue deferments for the state's higher education systems.
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Published on January 25, 2024
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  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.
  • The plan would defer 5% funding increases for the University of California and California State University systems.
  • The budget would also cut funding to the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program and Middle-Class Scholarship.

With California facing an expected deficit of $37.9 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing cuts to specific higher education programs and revenue deferments for the state's university systems.

Newsom's 2024-2025 fiscal year budget includes ongoing funds for the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges systems, as well as support for the Student Aid Commission, which manages programs including Cal Grant, and the California State Library.

The University of California and California State University systems would defer almost $500 million to the following year, under the proposal. The deferments would include the system's 5% budget increases and $31 million for UC to enroll more in-state students at UC Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Last year's budget included 5% funding increases annually over five years for the UC and CSU systems, given they work toward certain shared goals, including making college more affordable, increasing enrollment of California residents, and improving graduation rates.

The systems would use interim financing structures or other internal borrowing to support their spending until the next budget.

Despite a growing deficit and continued fiscal uncertainty, the governor is making thoughtful decisions during an extraordinarily difficult budget period by implementing but deferring a 5 percent funding increase pledged in the multi-year funding compact for the University, UC President Michael Drake said in a statement.

These decisions will position our state and its students for a prosperous future once budgetary challenges subside.

CSU Chancellor Mildred García echoed a similar sentiment.

The CSU will honor and work toward fulfilling the goals outlined in the original multi-year compact. We will explore our funding options to advance compact-related goals during the one-year delay and will proceed with financial prudence as we review the impacts and implications of this budget proposal, she said in a statement.

California Community Colleges Maintain Funding

The proposed budget would marginally increase the allotted funding for California Community Colleges from Proposition 98, which calculates how much funding K-12 schools and community colleges should get from public dollars, for cost-of-living adjustments and enrollment increases.

They would also receive a one-time $60 million investment to expand nursing programs throughout the community college system.

Gov. Newsom's proposed budget emphasizes the need to continue growing California's workforce in high-priority areas, which is at the core of the California Community Colleges' mission. We appreciate that the governor's budget maintains investments in areas such as growing community college nursing programs, California Community Colleges Chancellor Sonya Christian said in a statement.

Cuts to Housing, Scholarship, Library Programs

The budget includes cuts to specific programs, including pulling $300 million in funding from the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program and $289 million in funding from the Middle-Class Scholarship.

Funding for changes to Cal Grant, the California-specific financial aid program, is also not included in Newsom's proposal. In 2020, the state legislature passed The Cal Grant Reform Act to be implemented in the state budget in the 2024-2025 academic year, unless funding was not available.

Additionally, programs facilitated by the California State Library would also see cuts under the proposed budget, with $131.3 million being pulled from the Local Library Infrastructure Grant Program, along with plans to forgo all future funding. Almost all of the funding for statewide library broadband services would also be impacted due to low involvement.