CSU, UC among the winners in new California budget deal

Jun 9, 2018

Gov. Jerry Brown has repeatedly fought requests for more state funding for the University of California and California State University.

“You’re getting 3 percent more, and that’s it. They’re not gonna get any more,” the governor said as he released his budget proposal in January.

At the time, it included a 3 percent ($92 million) ongoing funding increase over the current fiscal year — well short of what the universities requested.

“They gotta manage. I think they need a little more scrutiny over how they’re spending things,” Brown said at the time.

Five months later, the two university systems have emerged as big winners in the agreement Brown reached with Democratic legislative leaders.

Although both universities received money on top of the governor’s proposed $92 million increase, the CSU, in particular, fared well.

It received an additional $105 million in ongoing state funding, plus $167 million in one-time money. That includes $120 million for enrollment growth over the next four years, which a legislative staff report says will support an additional 3,641 full-time equivalent students during that span.

The UC also gets $105 million in the deal, but only in one-time funding, which the legislative report says can be used for “general university needs.” The UC does get $5 million in ongoing money to support enrollment growth of 500 undergraduate students.

One-time funding of $35 million will go toward deferred maintenance at each system.

“We didn’t get exactly what we wanted,” said Asm. Kevin McCarthy (D-Sacramento), who chairs the Assembly budget subcommittee on education. “But I think we were able to provide enough to hold back the student fee increases at UC and CSU, and allow UC and CSU to cover their basic needs.”

McCarty says the governor and lawmakers still believe the universities must make more operational changes — the CSU must increase its graduation rate, and the UC must create more internal cost savings both systemwide and in the Office of the President.

“Frankly, this is gonna roll over to the next governor,” he added. “I know there will be a lot of voices who think this wasn’t a deal that’s good enough. But there’s always tomorrow.”

As for the governor’s emphatic declaration from January that he would not agree to any additional funding increases? The Brown administration attributes the budget deal to the outcome of negotiations with Democratic leaders and the governor’s “continued commitment to affordability.”

H.D. Palmer with Brown’s Department of Finance says the agreement reflects “flat tuition for both UC and CSU for the coming year” and includes language to “reduce UC and CSU’s appropriations if they were to increase tuition and fees on students and their families.”

The CSU said back in April that it would not raise tuition in the coming year. The UC, which said in April that it would delay its decision until after the budget, said the budget deal “will allow UC to put off a tuition increase for California students.”