Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a 2006-07 state budget proposal today (Jan. 10) that would provide a second year of increased funding for the University of California after four years of cuts. The governor’s budget would fund enrollment growth at UC, use state funds to “buy out” student fee increases, provide additional state funding for UC’s initiative to train more science and math teachers, and invest in UC health care to underserved regions of the state.
The budget proposal fulfills the governor’s “compact” with UC. That document spells out anticipated state funding levels and university accountability measures over a multi-year period.
“We are grateful to the governor for once again recognizing the vital contribution higher education makes to the well-being of the state,” said UC President Robert C. Dynes. “This budget will help us keep our doors open to the next entering class of students, continue rebuilding and improving programs that suffered from the budget cuts of the last few years, and provide access to the university for students from families of all financial means.”
The governor’s budget does not include funding for UC’s K-12 academic preparation programs or labor research programs. Dynes said the university will actively seek restoration of this funding as the budget moves through the Legislature this year.
Under the governor’s budget, UC’s state-funded budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 would total $3.049 billion, an increase of $207 million or 7.3 percent above the 2005-06 level.
Below are key elements of the governor’s proposal for UC:Enrollment growth: Funding for growth of 5,279 full-time-equivalent students in 2006-07, an increase of 2.5 percent. This increase will allow UC to meet its commitments under the Master Plan for Higher Education to offer a place to all eligible undergraduates and also will allow UC to continue increasing graduate enrollments, including in the health sciences. Student fees: The governor’s budget proposes to use $75 million in state funding to “buy out” student fee increases at UC. The Regents adopted 2006-07 fee increases in November but, responding to an appeal from Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, did so with the understanding that “student fees as proposed will be reduced or rescinded prior to implementation if the governor and Legislature provide the funding to reduce or eliminate the fee increases and the remaining portions of the compact remain in place.”
The increases planned for 2006-07 but which would be rescinded under the governor’s budget were an 8 percent increase in mandatory systemwide fees for undergraduates, a 10 percent increase in mandatory systemwide fees for graduate academic students, and 5-10 percent increases (dollar amounts varying by school) for most professional school students. A 5 percent nonresident tuition hike approved for undergraduates only would not be affected by the governor’s plan.
“This proposal recognizes the financial struggles of many California families and helps preserve access to the university for families of all means,” Dynes said. “In addition, I am pleased that the governor proposed buying out fees at the graduate and professional level, where we are working to enhance our competitiveness for the best students.”
With the buyout, mandatory systemwide fees for resident undergraduates in 2006-07 would be $6,141, or an estimated average $6,802 with the inclusion of campus-based fees. Resident graduate academic students would pay $6,897 in mandatory systemwide fees, or an estimated average $8,708 with the inclusion of campus-based fees. Nonresident students would pay an average total of $25,486 at the undergraduate level with the increase in nonresident tuition for undergraduate students, and $23,669 at the graduate level. Two-thirds of UC students receive financial aid to help cover these costs.
Professional students would still see a one-year, temporary $350 increase in the Educational Fee, approved by the Regents last July to help cover lost revenue associated with a lawsuit regarding professional fees. The Regents in July also approved increases in some professional school fees for 2005-06 but deferred a portion of those increases to 2006-07; students would still see those increases as well. But the further fee increases adopted in November for 2006-07 would not occur. Total fees for professional students in 2006-07 would range from about $12,000 for nursing to about $25,000 for law. Science and math initiative: The budget includes $375,000 in addition to the $750,000 included in the 2005-06 budget for the “California Teach – One Thousand Teachers, One Million Minds” program. In this program, UC has begun working with corporate partners and the California State University system to dramatically expand the training of high-quality science and mathematics teachers for California’s schools in order to bolster the state’s long-term economic and technological competitiveness. Faculty and staff compensation: The governor’s budget includes funding that, when combined with other university revenue sources, will fund an average 4 percent increase in employee compensation in 2006-07, subject to collective bargaining requirements. Salaries of UC faculty and staff now significantly lag those at institutions UC competes with, putting the university at a competitive disadvantage in preserving quality programs. This additional funding will prevent further erosion of UC’s salary competitiveness. UC Merced: The budget sustains $14 million in one-time funding, in addition to $10 million in base funding plus funding for enrollment growth, for the new UC Merced. Facilities and health initiatives: In addition to the operating budget, the governor proposed $340 million in capital funding for UC facilities in 2006-07 to help the university continue addressing enrollment growth, seismic and life safety needs.
The governor also proposed a major infrastructure program for the State of California that includes $345 million per year for UC’s facilities construction and renewal program over the next 10 years, along with an additional $40 million per year for 10 years for UC initiatives to improve health care to underserved Californians, with a special focus on telemedicine.
Each of the five UC campuses with a medical school has been developing programs to train more physicians who can help meet health care shortfalls in medically underserved areas of the state. For instance, UC Irvine has launched a program focusing on the unique needs of the Latino community; UC Davis is now preparing to launch a program focusing on health care for rural underserved areas of Northern California. A key component of the UC Davis program is expansion of its telemedicine program, which uses electronic technology to allow residents of remote, medically underserved areas to consult with, and gain long-distance diagnoses from, medical experts in specific fields.
The funding of $40 million per year for 10 years would provide for the additional UC instructional and research space needed to accommodate a roughly 10 percent increase in medical school enrollments associated with these programs, along with state-of-the-art equipment to help address the needs of medically underserved populations.
“We greatly appreciate the governor’s infrastructure proposals for higher education,” Dynes said. “The portion devoted to health care will help make California a national leader in telemedicine and will improve the care available to many Californians.” Academic preparation: The governor’s proposed budget removes $17 million in state funding for UC’s academic preparation programs, which help improve the academic performance of educationally disadvantaged students in K-12 schools across the state. This action would leave the $12 million in internal resources that UC currently provides for these programs. The governor sustained the state funding on a one-time basis in 2005-06, and UC has been working to quantify thoroughly the programs’ effectiveness for the administration. A final report from that effort is expected this spring.
“These academic preparation programs are an important path to social mobility, enhanced college preparation, and ultimately, greater economic success for the state,” Dynes said. “I will continue working to sustain state funding for these efforts, because they should be an important priority not only for the university, but for the state itself.” Labor research: The governor’s budget would not restore $2.9 million in funding that was removed from the 2005-06 budget for labor research programs at UC. The university will seek restoration of this funding in 2006-07. Children’s health: As the fifth largest provider of health care services in California, UC supports the governor’s efforts to ensure that children have adequate health insurance coverage. UC’s five teaching hospitals are an integral part of the health care safety net, with Medi-Cal recipients and uninsured patients relying on UC teaching hospitals to access high quality care. Increased efforts to enroll eligible children in the Medi-Cal and Healthy Families programs work to strengthen the health care safety net.
The governor’s budget can be found online at www.ebudget.ca.gov.
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