Proposed California Budget Includes $40 Billion for Higher Ed

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to increase spending on higher education in the 2023-2024 fiscal year but he's also seeking to delay spending on some capital projects.
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  • The University of California and California State University systems would see a 5% base increase in funding.
  • California Community Colleges would see a little over $652 million of ongoing funding under the proposed plan.
  • The budget also proposes delays to capital projects including new schools as well as to the construction and renovation of student housing properties.

Despite rising inflation, California Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced his budget for higher education with around $40 billion in funding for higher education in the state, including goals to increase access to higher education and expand college affordability.

The governor's budget includes ongoing funds for the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and the California Community Colleges systems, as well as support for the Student Aid Commission, the ScholarShare Investment Board, which manages programs such as CalKIDS, and the California State Library.

The University of California and California State University systems would see a 5% base increase in funding, with $215.5 million going to UC and $227.3 million heading to CSU.

The budget also proposes requiring the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to participate in the system's Transfer Admissions Guarantee (TAG) program to receive specific funding. The TAG program offers guaranteed admission to students transferring directly to a UC school from any California community college.

Currently, only three out of the nine UC schools do not participate in the program: UCLA; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California, San Diego.

"Governor Newsom has put forward a budget proposal that maintains his strong commitment to the University of California and allows us to continue our important work supporting all Californians," UC President Michael Drake said in a statement. "At this time of declining State revenues, his support for the University and our students is truly extraordinary. We are grateful for his continued support of the University."

The 5% increase is consistent with the governor's promise to include such raises 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.

"[CSU] is grateful that, in his 2023-24 January budget proposal, Governor Newsom indicated that he plans to fully fund the second year of the multi-year compact with the CSU," CSU interim Chancellor Jolene Koester said in a statement. "This proposal, despite uncertainty surrounding the state's economic circumstances, reinforces the administration's commitment to the CSU, its belief in our mission, and appreciation of our successes in transforming the lives of Californians."

California Community Colleges would see a little over $652 million of ongoing funding under the proposed plan, which includes an 8.13% cost-of-living adjustment.

California Community Colleges would also get $200 million in one-time funding from Proposition 98, which calculates how much funding K-12 schools and community colleges should get from public dollars, to help increase enrollment and retention rates across the community college system.

Additionally, Newsom is requesting that community colleges create dual enrollment agreements with local schools in their area and create service-learning courses for high school students to access through dual enrollment.

California Community Colleges interim Chancellor Dr. Daisy Gonzales said in a statement that the governor's budget builds on the strength of the system.

"The proposal builds on California community colleges' strengths with added resources for career training, building out partnerships that connect traditionally underrepresented high school students to college opportunities by concurrently attending community colleges and a continued commitment to help colleges attract and retain students," she said.

However, Newsom included some delays in funding for capital projects, including deferring $200 million in funding for the construction of an Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA, $83 million for the Berkeley Clean Energy Campus project, and $83 million for campus expansion projects at University of California, Riverside and University of California, Merced to the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

There are also proposed delays to student housing with $250 million of support for affordable student housing projects being pushed to the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

Additionally, the $1.8 billion in funding over two years to establish a student housing revolving loan program from the 2022 Budget Act would also be postponed an additional year. This would result in $650 million in 2024-2025 and $1.15 billion in 2025-2026 being available for the program.