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State Budget Aims To Heal Pandemic Cuts To Public Universities, With Strings Attached

An image of students walking on the California State University Fullerton campus.
Students return to campus on the first Monday of classes of the Fall 2016 semester.
(Matthew Gush
/
CSU Fullerton/Flickr Creative Commons)
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The California legislature sent a message to its public higher education branches this week: the state is poised to heal the pandemic’s funding pain.

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State Budget Aims To Heal Pandemic Cuts To Public Universities, With Strings Attached

The budget proposal approved by lawmakers and sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday includes healthy increases for public universities. About $300 million in additional funding would go to each of the state’s public university systems, the California State University and the University of California, to make up for cuts this fiscal year.

Additional funding will go toward opening about 16,000 new student slots in both university systems in the 2022-2023 academic year.

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While the budget proposal seeks to add funding to help students and employees, and improve campus infrastructure, the issue of who has access to the University of California’s most sought-after campuses stands out in the plan.

If approved by Newsom, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego would receive a pot of money that triples over three years — but those universities would have to give up 900 non-resident student slots to accommodate California residents.

This move comes after years of criticism that UC has increased out-of-state enrollment at the expense of California residents. At UCLA, the proportion of California residents enrolled in the university has shrunk by more than 20% in the last two decades. In 2000, according to UC data, 86.1% of UCLA’s enrolled students were California residents. In 2020, that percentage had gone down to 69.18%, with the rest of the students coming from other states and other countries.

The legislature released this summary of its budget proposal, with the details about higher education funding beginning on page 62.

Here are some additional higher education budget items that could have a big impact:

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California Community Colleges

  • $150 million for student emergency financial aid
  • $30 million for student mental health needs
  • $10 million in one-time funds to LGBTQ+ student support centers

California State University

  • $60 million to support infrastructure at CSU Dominguez Hills
  • $15 million to support student basic needs and $15 million for student mental health
  • $5 million to support housing for formerly incarcerated students

University of California

  • $15 million for emergency financial aid for students
  • $15 million to support student mental health needs

The state budget plan now goes to Gov. Newsom, who has until July 12 to approve it.

Corrected June 29, 2021 at 5:28 PM PDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the deadline for the governor to sign the budget. LAist regrets the error.