Monday, January 10, 2011


California's new governor, Jerry Brown, has proposed $1.4 billion worth of cuts to the state's higher education budget. Here's the breakdown: $500 million from both the UC and the CSU systems, and $400 million from community colleges.
* At UC, facing a 16.4 percent reduction in state support, President Mark Yudof said he would resist another fee increase. UC students were handed an 8 percent fee increase last fall and a 32 percent increase the previous fall.

UC might consider reducing the availability of financial aid, cutting enrollment and lifting the caps on out-of-state enrollment, said Yudof. "The physics of the situation cannot be denied -- as the core budget shrinks, so much the university," he said.

For the first time, students and their families will contribute more than the state towards the average cost of enrollment -- moving the system towards a model of "privately-funded public education" like the University of Virginia.

For the average UC student, the state would contribute $7,210; in contrast, $7,930 would be paid by students and their families.

* At CSU, handed an 18 percent reduction in state support, chancellor Charles B. Reed said the university system will likely have to restrict new enrollments as campuses start the admissions process for students who have applied for fall 2011.

"The reality is that we will not be able to admit as many students as we had been planning for this fall," said Reed. "Over the next few months, our 23 campuses will be faced with very difficult admission decisions as they try to manage this reduction. For students and parents, the uncertainty of the situation is even harder."

In addition, the proposed cuts would restrict classes and services for current CSU students, he said.

The proposed $2.2 billion in state support for CSU is equivalent to 1999-2000 levels -- yet the system educates 70,000 more students each year than it did a decade ago, Reed said.

CSU had been in the process of ramping up its enrollment for this spring, thanks to a partial restoration of its budget in 2010-2011, after two years of enrollment cuts totaling 40,000 students.

Reed criticized the budget proposal, saying, "Higher education is the state's main economic driver, and we cannot improve our economy without an educated workforce."

* At the community colleges, faced with a 6.5 percent cut, an estimated 350,000 students could be turned away, predicted Chancellor Jack Scott.

Because California has the lowest-priced community colleges in the nation, Brown suggested raising community college fees, from $26 to $36 per unit, or $300 to $540 per semester, for a full-time student.

He also urged cuts to lower-priority courses, while protecting courses needed for transfer and vocational certificates.
Yudof issued a statement about the cuts on his Facebook page. For the most part, it's the usual story about "difficult choices," about how the cuts that will be enacted are necessary and indeed inevitable, since the "physics of the situation cannot be denied." Surprisingly, though, Yudof also says something we completely agree with:
There can be no business as usual.


  1. Hey, the UC Berkeley Student Worker Action Team is putting together a newsletter for the beginning of the semester to inform students about what is going on with the cuts, do you think we can use this article with credit to reclaimuc? We would really appreciate it.