By Donna Hemmila
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a 2010-11 budget today (Oct. 8) that includes approximately $3 billion for University of California academic programs, student financial aid and health education and research.
The governor trimmed $962 million more from the $85.7 billion general fund spending plan legislators had approved. The budget includes no new taxes and relies on $7.5 billion in spending cuts, deferred funding payments to K-12 schools and community colleges, and $5.5 billion in federal funding to close the state's nearly $19 billion deficit. The budget also includes proposed pension reductions for new state employees.
The state's allocation to UC restores $199 million that was cut from the 2009-10 budget when lawmakers slashed $637.1 million, or 20 percent of UC's state general fund dollars. The budget includes $51.3 million for 5,121 current UC students that the state had not previously funded. The budget also recommends $353 million for capital facility projects to provide more classrooms and meet critically needed seismic safety needs.
An additional $106 million in one-time federal stimulus funds approved in September brings UC's total funding restoration to $305 million. UC will use the money for academic programs and student services that were cut back due to the state funding crisis.
"In a very difficult budget year, the governor and legislators showed they truly understand the value of higher education," said Patrick Lenz, UC vice president of budget. "While UC still continues to face very serious funding challenges, we are extremely grateful that the state budget includes a visionary investment that recognizes the important role the university plays in creating jobs and educating the skilled workforce to fill them. UC is here to serve the people of California, and we need the state's financial support to do that."
Calling this budget a "solid, but sober deal for Californians," Assembly Speaker John Perez said the spending plan saves jobs and supports education.
"This budget protects 430,000 jobs from elimination," Perez said as he urged fellow legislators to vote for the budget. "These are teachers, cops, firefighters, child care providers, health care workers and private business owners who will keep working and contributing to our economic recovery. We maintain education funding because a well-educated workforce is essential to California's future prosperity."
Highlights from UC's state budget include:
- $51.3 million to support 5,121 students. This is the first new state funding for enrollment growth since 2007. UC currently has more than 16,000 students for whom it receives no state support at an estimated cost to the university of $167 million.
- Full funding for Cal Grants, covering the already enacted 2010-11 UC fee increase for eligible students.
- $10 million for startup funding for the UC Riverside Medical School.
- $2 million in continued state support for the UC PRIME medical education programs at Davis, Irvine, San Francisco, UCLA and San Diego to train physicians to work in underserved communities.
- $1.7 million in continued support for increasing nursing student enrollment, from entry-level clinical care training to doctoral programs.
- $14 million for increases in retiree health benefit costs. There is no provision for the state's share of the employer contributions to the UC Retirement Plan. The university estimated the state's 2010-11 share of contributions at $95.7 million. The Legislature did eliminate the current statutory prohibitions against any new state funds being used for UCRP. The Legislature also adopted budget bill language asking for the Legislative Analyst, the Department of Finance and UC to work together on a proposal to fund UCRP in the future.
- $352.7 million to fund building and seismic renovation projects at Berkeley (Campbell Hall replacement), UCLA (CHS South Tower renovation), Merced (science and engineering building 2 and site development for campus build-out), Santa Barbara (Davidson Library addition), Irvine (arts building) and San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography research facilities).