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UC and CSU Seek Combined $1.797 Billion From State to Recover Budgets

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UCLA's campus (Photo by legge e mare via Flickr)

UCLA's campus (Photo by legge e mare via Flickr)
This week both voting bodies in charge of the University of California and the California State University systems are voting on budget plans for the 2010-11 school year, and both include ambitious requests to the state of California for hundreds of millions of dollars apiece to restore crippling budget cuts and, in fact, increase funding.Yesterday, the California State University Board of Trustees Finance Committee "adopted a budget for 2010-2011 calling for an $884 million increase in state support from the legislature and Governor. The budget would increase the system’s General Fund support from its current reduced level of $2.3 billion to $3.2 billion," details a CSU press release. The CSU is "calling it a 'recover and reinvest' budget," with the intention of not only reclaiming the "$305 million in one-time cuts imposed in 2009-2010," that led to faculty and staff furloughs and reduced resources, but also asking for "$296 million for mandatory cost increases, compensation increases, and improvements in student services and instruction," a portion of which will off-set a 10% fee increase.

The UC Regents are equally as ambitious in seeking funds from the state. Currently in day two of a three-day span of budget meetings, the panel is working to approve a plan that "includes a request for $913 million from the state to restore steep cuts made over the last two years to the university’s budget. The plan also includes undergraduate, graduate and professional school fee increases for January 2010 and fall 2010 terms," outlines a UC press release. The UC board votes tomorrow, and is expected to vote also on "increasing financial aid to minimize the impact of fee increases on needy students."

While it is noteworthy that both higher ed systems are boldly shaping budgets that involve restoration of lost funds and more funds that are much-needed to maintain and improve campus offerings and the quality of education provided to California's students, the battle is far from won. The budgets must be approved by the State Department of Finance, the state legislature, and the Governor, who is scheduled to revise his budget in May with a mid-June adoption. Just this morning the state budget was described as having a "grim forecast," as we face a $21 Billion projected deficit.

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