Governor Brown’s Budget for Higher Education Holds Promise and Opportunity
January 11, 2013 | Written by: Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director, Campaign for College Opportunity
We applaud Governor Brown on the new investments he proposes for California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California totaling nearly 1.5 billion dollars. After years of devastating cuts to higher education, thanks to voter approval of Proposition 30 and the Governor’s leadership, higher education is on the mend and that is good for both students and our state.
We are greatly encouraged by the Governor’s focus on providing increased college access and prioritizing an agenda that decreases time to completion, increases community college transfer numbers and graduation rates, especially for students at our California State Universities and Community Colleges.
In 2010, we commissioned a landmark study, Divided We Fail , which found that only three in ten community college students complete a degree, transfer, or earn a certificate after six years. This falls to only two in ten for Latino and black students. With the state facing a 2.3 million certificate and degree shortage by 2025, we are proud to see Governor Jerry Brown support higher education funding and policy priorities that hold colleges and universities accountable for increasing student graduation and completion rates.
Governor Brown’s budget proposal for higher education includes the following key items:
INCREASES ACCESS TO COLLEGE FOR STUDENTS
- Over $600 million in additional funding to the California Community Colleges (CCC);
- Provides financial stability by ensuring an increase in funding for the next several years to community colleges, CSU and UC with the expectation that the increases in funding will ensure course availability;
- $250 million additional dollars for both the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC);
FOCUSES ON COLLEGE COMPLETION AND DECREASING TIME TO DEGREE FOR STUDENTS
- Designates $36.9 million in resources to increase online course offerings at the CCC, CSU, and UC to help students decrease their time to transfer and degree;
- Limits state-supported instruction in community colleges to 90 units (60 units are required for an Associate Degree or Transfer) and CSU and UC to 180 units through 2014 and 150 units in subsequent years (120 units are required to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree). Students could obtain a waiver to take more courses beyond the cap, but the state would not continue to subsidize the cost for those excess courses;
- Proposes a 5-year phase-in for California Community College funding to be allocated on student course completion rather than third week student enrollment. Any loss in funding would be given back to the colleges in the form of new dollars designated for student support services – this ensures that there will be no loss of revenue for any college;
KEEPS COLLEGE AFFORDABLE
- The Governor expects that college leaders will maintain current tuition and fee levels over the next four years given significant increases in funding;
- Preserves financial aid for students by adding $61 million in funding for Cal Grants and ensuring a $161.1 million increase in 2013-14;
- Proposes that all CCC students seeking a Board of Governor (BOG) Fee Waiver complete a Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) to ensure eligibility and access to additional federal and state aid. Any savings in reduced BOG monies, would be reinvested to increase course offerings and support student services.
This budget and the policy reforms proposed by Governor Brown make it clear that he understands that an opportunity to go to college is not fully realized unless a student is able to achieve his or her college goals. Today, we stand ready to work with the Governor and our broad coalition to ensure the vision laid out in this budget proposal is made a reality for the sake of students and California’s economy.
About the Author:Michele Siqueiros is the Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity.
To read her complete bio, click here. Follow her on Twitter @MSCollegeOpp